Matching Hearts (TV Movie 2020)

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Matching Hearts: Directed by Siobhan Devine. With Taylor Cole, Ryan Paevey, Donna Benedicto, Osric Chau. As Valentine’s Day nears, a matchmaker is tasked by her mentor to find a match for an entrepreneur who believes staying single is the key to success.

“I tend to be curious every time a talented filmmaker gets to direct a film set in a pessimistic future/post-apocalyptic era : visually, itu0026#39;s the perfect setting for desolated landscapes and amazing images of urban chaos ; story-wise, itu0026#39;s the perfect occasion to insert social commentary and establish more or less subtle metaphors about our current way of life, our current values, and extend in a fictitious way many assumptions that we have regarding the fate of mankind and our very own planet. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn my opinion, it has to be one of science-fictionu0026#39;s most important sub-genres, since it leaves so much room to contemporary concerns (the environment, pollution, wars, immigration, etc.). Films like u0026quot;Children of Menu0026quot;, u0026quot;Looperu0026quot;, and u0026quot;The Roadu0026quot; have greatly contributed to this sub-genre which, in reality, is not really new, but is constantly being redefined and given different treatments : u0026quot;Children of Menu0026quot; was an ode to life, u0026quot;Looperu0026quot; felt a lot like a modern-day western, u0026quot;The Roadu0026quot; was a classic tale of a father-and-son relationship, and now, u0026quot;Elysiumu0026quot;, a thriller/action film/social commentary about disparity between the rich and the poor. Neill Blomkamp burst out of the scene in 2009 with u0026quot;District 9u0026quot;, a very similar project in several regards, and blew audiences away with a clever mix of documentary-style filmmaking, explosive action, and the refreshing implement of an obvious social commentary.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eu0026quot;Elysiumu0026quot; starts off brilliantly, showcasing two opposite environments: the old Earth, which has turned into a huge ghetto where people live like cattle, and Elysium, a high-end space station where all the wealthy people from Earth have moved to establish their home. We are then introduced to our protagonist, Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), whose quest is quickly defined after being exposed to deadly radiation : With five days left to live, Max will ally up with a group of illegal immigrants to get to Elysium so he can get the proper medical attention he needs. But Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), an evil government executive in charge of defending Elysium, will stand in his way, by hiring Kruger (Sharlto Copley), a psychopathic mercenary in charge of neutralizing all illegal immigrants.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe first third of u0026quot;Elysiumu0026quot; is both fascinating and stressful : You are being introduced to the over-populated Earth, its hospitals, its industrial plants, its streets. These images are very reminiscent of the Johannesburg ghettos depicted in u0026quot;District 9u0026quot;. And then, you get to see glimpses of the wonderful Elysium, a visual tour-de-force that ends up being shamefully underused in the film. The first moments Max is shown after being exposed to radiation, the film jumps into a nerve-racking tone, and it is very effective, as it is blended with several dramatic elements that range from innovative to pretty common.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eUnfortunately, the pace slows down in the second third, where Maxu0026#39;s story gets sidelined a bit, to the profit of a few sub-plots that involve an unpredictable, yet not so major twist in terms of impact on the story, as well as a sub-story involving the daughter of an old friend of Max. And while the twist is a welcome addition, the sub-story comes a little out of nowhere and comes off as a bit of a cliché. It seemed like Blomkamp was trying to preserve this family theme that was dear to him in u0026quot;District 9u0026quot;, and that served the story so well in his previous film. Its unusual aspect prevented it from being too clichéd (an alien dad and his alien son), which is unfortunately not the case in u0026quot;Elysiumu0026quot;. It does not ruin the film, but it does steal its share of precious screen time in a film that feels a tad too short, and leads it towards more conventional developments.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThen the pace picks up again, with a third act that consists mostly of a bunch of pretty awesome action/fighting sequences, where the feeling of urgency from the original quest has pretty much left the building. In terms of writing, this is conventional stuff, but the technical expertise behind the visuals and the sound is a thing of beauty. Also, the dramatic elements displayed in the first third are briefly brought back to seal the deal, and do provide a satisfying feeling of closure to the story.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eOverall, this is quality entertainment with impressive visuals, and a world of ideas that had infinite potential. And while u0026quot;Elysiumu0026quot; exploited only a fraction of its potential, what it did exploit it did it successfully. Directing, photography, music, and performances are all superb. With a decent yet a bit unoriginal social commentary in the background that does get shelved in the second half to the profit of rock-solid action sequences, the strengths of u0026quot;Elysiumu0026quot;, taken individually, do feel a bit scattered, but make for an overall very competent package.”

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