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Hearts & Bones Is A Profound Study Of Trauma & Redemption

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Hearts  & Bones(iTunes, YouTube)

Starring Hugo Weaving – Dan Fisher, Andrew Luri – Sebastian Ahmed,Hayley McElhinney – Josie Avril,Bolude Watson – Anishka Ahmed

Directed by Ben Lawrence

Rating: *** ½

It’s been a while since I saw a film so  inured  in  layers  of  untapped  feelings and  frozen emotion which  come undone as the  narrative, in no hurry  to get anywhere,  pulls us  into four lives affected  by the horrors of war and unrest.

Australia’s  pride  Hugo Weaving plays  a  war photographer  so severely stressed  by all those years  of witnessing  civil unrest  and  sectarian  massacres, that he  is  now  a seriously  traumatized  ailing  man. Weaving as  Dan Fisher reminded  me  of  war correspondent  Marie  Colvin  in the  film A Private War.

It is unimaginable  what years  of covering  intense  violence in war-ravaged countries  could do to the human psyche. Hugo Weaving plays  the  traumatized  photographer with  no click baits  to  pull  us in. He  doesn’t need  them. The  film doesn’t need  any   stunts  to  pull us into its  deeply felt , sparsely expressed  emotions.

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At one point, Dan’s pregnant wife  remarks, “You find it  easier to share  your thoughts with a stranger than me.”  There is no accusation  in this  observation.  It is the truth  of a   complete  emotional lock-down brought on by years  of trauma  on  the job. Hearts  & Bones is  not an easy film to watch.It doesn’t waste   time  or energy in trying to prettify  the hero’s horrific  innerworld. It moves at  its  volition unheedful of  getting our attention.

Dan’s  psycho-stress  is  taken to a manageable level when he  befriends a Sudanese taxi driver  Sebastian(Andrew Luri) who has a request for Dan: don’t exhibit the pictures of  the massacre  that  changed his life back home in Sudan.

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 The unlikely friendship is not very convincing, as Dan and Sebastian hardly look like emotionally wrecked drifters  floating towards one  another, There is too much restrain and  isolation  in one and  too much cultural  pride in the  other, so that the friendship remains more  of what we are  told than what we  see and feel between the two heroes.

More convincing is  the  dilemma  of Seabastian’s wife(played with  brilliant composure by Boluda Watson) . Watson’s Anishka is a wife  trying to come to grips with her husband’s dark undisclosed past.  There  is  a whole lifetime  of  compressed  memories  of  ugliness and atrocities   in both  the  men. Their wives too have  their baggage to  lug around as four people try to come to terms with their  fractured  lives.

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Hearts  & Bones  may not  be the emotional  experience that  you’d want this  story to be.But it a much-needed  expression of grief and clemency  in a world desperate  to hide its flaws  .