Salma Hayek and Jared Leto play real-life serial killers in Lonely Hearts, a 1940s-set thriller. Quite the Bonnie and Clyde duo, lovers Ray and Martha pose as a brother and sister. He seduces the ladies, swindles them out of their cash - and she gets jealous and kills them. John Travolta and James Gandolfini are the cops on their trail in this lurid, disturbing yet reasonably entertaining true crime flick made by the grandson of Travolta's character, Elmer Robinson.
The film gets off to an immediately gory start, showing Robinson's wife taking her own life, the latest in a long line of local suicides. Quietly grieving, Robinson sulks at his desk until the Lonely Hearts killers start to strike. Finding a new cause, he doggedly pursues them, his instincts way ahead of his colleagues. Meanwhile, we're privy to the devious machinations of the murderous couple. At first their scenes are harmlessly enjoyable: Ray turns on the charm to vulnerable women to amusing effect, before Martha - an intended victim - catches him at it and decides to join in the fun. Once Martha's green-eyed monster is awakened, however, events take a darker turn and some horrifying scenes ensue.
"HAYEK AND LETO GEL TOGETHER WELL"
Hayek and Leto gel together well: he's the smooth romancer in his toupee with his marks, but hen-pecked and hassled when the wig comes off. Less successful is the depiction of Robinson, his family and his workmates: this never gets under his skin. That's no reason to skip the film altogether, though: this is a new take on an old story that's well worth seeing.
Lonely Hearts is out in the UK on 27th July 2007.