Streaming Releases: Sacred Heart (2018) Reviewed

At some point in every person's life, they're going to have to deal with the death of a loved one.  It can be a heartbreaking, tragic, confusing ordeal that none of us ever want to experience, or even think about, but it will occur, nonetheless.  

The film, Sacred Heart, written and directed by Kosta Nikas, introduces us to Robert, overcome with grief in the aftermath of his pregnant wife's untimely death. The official plot synopsis reads: "After the death of his pregnant wife, a religious man rejects his Faith, and mockingly challenges God and the Devil as he struggles with the desire for revenge".  Despite a solid acting performance by Kipan Rothbury, who stars as Robert, and some heavy dramatic themes, this film ultimately fails at getting us into actually caring about the drama unfolding throughout its runtime.  

Gun. It's what's for lunch. 

At the center of the story is Robert, who is constantly having conversations, both real and imagined, where he debates the tenets of faith in the wake of a death.  Unfortunately, the dialogue feels so forced and unnatural that rather than drawing us in, it drives the audience right out and alienates us from empathizing with Robert in any way.  More than anything, he just comes off as a jerk that treats everyone around him like crap.  Yes, he's gone through a terrible ordeal, but as cruel as it sounds, I can't help but feel nothing for him.  Arguably the central pillar of storytelling is getting its audience to connect with its characters, so the fact that this film fails to do this is the most obvious sign of its failure.

On a technical aspect, Sacred Heart doesn't have much going for it either.  The cinematography is that of just the next in a string of films that was obviously shot digitally, with no regard to giving the look any sort of depth or richness.  It's a trend I've noticed with more and more frequency these last several years, and it's only gotten more annoying.  Please don't take this as a criticism against digital filmmaking itself.  Most films are shot digitally these days, and more than plenty have gorgeous cinematography.  

My complaint is that some filmmakers/cinematographers who shoot digitally have gotten lazy and don't put the added effort into making sure their films have a unique cinematic look that sets them apart from others.  As a result, we're left with dozens upon dozens of amateur films that all look the same.  It's depressingly boring.  The sound design and editing book exhibit the same sort of problems I found with the cinematography.  The music is generic, and the spoken dialogue itself is at times actually difficult to comprehend.  

I tell you what. Gun is the best kinda lunch. 

I wanted to care about what was happening in this film, but there was just nothing here that allowed that to happen.  I honestly forgot about the film ten minutes after the credits rolled.  I appreciate the attempt to craft a film about death, faith, and vengeance, but Sacred Heart ultimately failed to give any real weight to these topics.

-Derek Miranda