REVIEW: “Thief of Hearts” sounds very typically romantic title of a film genre. This not so heavily promoted thriller by Nam Ron is definitely a double thumbs up. I feel very compelled to review this film because it’s worth mentioning the hard work of the film maker and his team of amazing talents and crews. Besides, I’ve been watching too much cliche mainstream and comedies. PPH, for short, is like a breathe of fresh air. The plot and storyline seemed heavy but not too hard on audience. I’m thinking perhaps audience must have been to comfortable with mainstream movies to even bother to think through this one.
PPH tells a story of thriller novelist, O-Sidi (Bront Palarae) who is obsessed with the genre that his mystery novels spoke for themselves. He obsession caused him to take a very long time to produce his latest novel. What more, the latest novel features true story and real life cases. Just as he was facing writer’s block, the town was struck by the return of a serial killer who cut open victims’ chest to remove and cleanse the hearts. The open wounds were then nicely closed. Victims were left without any trail of evidence. Sidi wanted to feature that part of “true story and real life case” into his last chapter of the novel. However, the hallucination from his obsession kept haunting him.
The latest victim of the thief of hearts was a waitress whom Sidi came into contact not too long ago. Therefore he became paranoid by his own hallucinations. As suggested by his “friend”, Man, he went for a vacation at an island. There, he met a couple, Dr. Khai and his depressed wife, Wani, who has suffered from 3 miscarriages. Their marriage was at stake and Dr Khai was trying to fix it by going on a vacation with his wife. Wani love mystery novels and fate has it that Wani met her idol, Sidi on the island. Wani became instantly attracted to Sidi and this drove her husband mad. On the other hand, the innkeeper’s wife, Siti,showed interest in Dr.Khai.
The sudden death ala thief of hearts, of Siti, caused Sidi’s hallucination to worsen. Dr. Khai took the opportunity to put the blame of the thief of hearts on Sidi as he wanted hs wife away from the novelist. What happened following the death of Siti unreeled the thrilling drama, albeit quite a short storyline.
Compared to mainstream movies, this rare genre for a Malay film was well-developed. Despite the short storyline, like I said, probably Nam Ron did not want audience to think so much, I still do think about certain things throughout the movie. Well, I got two things right: 1)Man, was not just Sidi’s friend. I would say Man was Sidi’s conscience or sidekick; an alter ego? Reminded me of Sidney Sheldon’s novel. 2)The real thief was not who everyone think he is. Too many English thriller movies taught me to figure it out within 40 mins into the movie. The killer’s intention of stealing victim’s hearts and having them cleansed, I feel like there’s an underlying message Nam Ron was trying to convey here. And the links of all sorts of disorders the characters had. Imagine, if you’re surrounded by people with all sorts of different disorders. Wait, we are already facing all sorts of disorders, don’t we?
My verdict: 8/10