The series known as "Chemical Hearts" is finally biting the dust and accepting an R-rated premiere: Bites me more like a bad dream than a good watch! Richard Tanne has bitten off more than he can chew and presented the most ambitious and intriguing plot of his career in "Chemical Hearts," which, in a nutshell, involves three teenagers who decide to try a drug of some sort after a parent's death. In doing so, they discover the dangers of using drugs, but what begins as one teen's discovery leads into a dangerous criminal enterprise.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Serio's film follows the first two films in the series in telling its story as an ensemble drama. Each of the characters is unique in their own way, but, as the story unfolds, we see how their personalities influence each other as they struggle to balance their personal lives with their professional responsibilities. For the most part, Serio uses the same formula of an adult (Kirsten Dunst) coming to visit her young (Benicio Del Toro) friend in a strange apartment for a sleep over: alcohol, sex and drugs. However, in "Chemical Hearts," Tanne uses it in a much different way, and it proves more interesting than the typical sleepover tale.
As a result, the film brings forth a completely different approach to the story and presents it as a much more complicated, engaging and entertaining journey than the rest of its siblings have. For instance, while the first film's main conflict revolves around a troubled teen with drug problems, "Chemical Heart" shows that the main problem lies with the teen's teenage brain, which decides to rebel by experimenting with illegal substances. In doing so, it exposes a darker side to the teen's personality, which is usually hidden underneath the surface. In "Chemical Hearts," this is the main problem, and it gets more involved, involving a plot about teens who are trying to control their bodies and minds while at the same time trying to get out from under the weight of the world's pressures. It is a lot more complex than your traditional drug use.
With "Chemical Hearts," Serio not only makes an R-rating available to his audience, but also allows them to enjoy a better plot and more interesting characters. than what they are used to seeing in most of his previous work. Instead of using the familiar faces, he adds his own twists and turns to the story to create a unique experience for the audience. The results are not always satisfying, and most of the times, they feel rushed, but they are more engaging, giving the audience more reasons to stay and not forget that this is an adult film, despite being labeled as a teen film.
Although the plot seems like it would bog down the film, "Chemical Hearts" doesn't falter in its execution. While some scenes could have been cut, the acting, direction and editing are perfect. If there is one criticism that can be made, it's that the final scene may be too slow for some viewers. Still, the movie flows effortlessly, and it never feels as though it's dragging, giving the viewer something new and fresh to look forward to each time the film starts. With the right amount of visual effects, voiceovers and music, "Chemical Hearts" feels as though you're actually watching it in a theater.
Overall, "Chemical Hearts" gives a very satisfying, yet unique and thought-provoking tale of love and addiction. Not to mention, it was directed and written by one of the best directors working today, Richard Serio. If you haven't seen "Chemical Hearts," don't worry, because the film is now available on DVD or VOD.