FFF REVIEW — “Knife + Heart”
Going into this blind was… interesting
Knife + Heart is French film directed by Yann Gonzalez, written by Gonzalez and Cristiano Mangione, and stars Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moran, Nicolas Maury, and Noé Hernández. It tells the story of Anne, who produces third-rate gay porn. After her editor and lover Lois leaves her, she tries to win her back by shooting her most ambitious film yet with her trusted, flaming sidekick Archibald. But one of her actors is brutally murdered and Anne gets caught up in a strange investigation that turns her life upside-down. Next in our series of Florida Film Festival reviews is the truly bizarre Knife + Heart, a tried and true midnight movie featuring neon-drenched cinematography, over the top violence, and a truly wild story. Giallo filmmaking is alive and well folks.
Yann Gonzalez is directing here and you can tell he’s having a blast. He’s making a modern-day Giallo film and he loves it. He’s clearly going for a Dario Argento meets Brian De Palma style, and while he doesn’t reach the heights of those filmmakers, he does a fine job. Not everything in Knife + Heart works and I really love how he throws everything at the wall here. Knife + Heart really feels like the Giallo version of Chinatown in the way it replicates the style and format it’s working in. It’s a bizarre, scary, funny romp and Gonzalez drenches it all in neon reds and blues. While this film may not personally be my cup of tea, I can’t help but admire how bold Gonzalez is in his direction. When it comes to his script with Cristiano Mangione, they somewhat misstep. While I’m not gonna fault the film for how bonkers and nonsensical it gets, it’s very predictable. While that may be very intentional, it doesn’t provide for the most entertaining viewing experience. The story really is a backseat for the visuals and the set pieces it presents, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing here.
As far as performances go, everyone does a fine job. Vanessa Paradis and Kate Moran do a nice job leading the film and all of the porn stars are hilarious and a lot of fun to watch. Although no one does a bad job here, the performances aren’t the reason to see this. It’s definitely a style over the substnace film. Usually, that would bother me a great deal, but it just works here. The cinematography is stunning and every shot is a neon-soaked nightmare. The score is blasting and reminiscent of last years Climax. The style is really the star of the film and I really loved it. All the kill scenes are energetic and unique and the porno shoot scenes are a blast to watch. My only real problem with the film is that I wish it went further with its gore and its style. I think Gonzalez has a weirder, gorier nightmare he can cook up and I can’t wait to see it.
In short, Knife + Heart is a glorious feat of the Giallo filmmaking. 3/5