In the last several years, moviegoers have been inundated with films—narrative and documentary features alike—that depict the decaying soul of the individual in the service of corporate ambition, but I can recall no such work as dark or morose as Heartbeat Detector, a new film from French director Nicolas Klotz (La Blessure, Paria). And I mean literally dark: where the characters live, work and play is, without fail, presented in stifling shadows or nearly devoid of light. Though the film ably establishes a pervasive, portentous atmosphere, it sadly results in stylistic overkill. While unquestionably sincere in its efforts to suggest that personal choices in furtherance of institutional progress can and do have dire consequences—not only for the decision maker but also, and especially, the nameless victims of such choices—Klotz’s film is a challenging slog, and it falls far short of compelling cinema.
Click here to read Chet Mellema’s review of Heartbeat Detector.