In the late 1940’s, Detective Elmer Robinson(John Travolta) immerses himself behind a desk after his wife commits suicide. His relationship with his son is strained and he is romantically linked with a coworker Rene(Laura Dern). One night, he accompanies his colleague Detective Charles Hildebrandt(James Gandolfini) to examine the house of a lady who had committed suicide. On arriving the scene, Elmer is unable to fathom the reason for suicide and he decides to solve the mystery as he suspects something more bigger and tragic. At one point, Charles is also not able to understand what drives Elmer.
Meanwhile, on a parallel track, Raymond Martinez Fernandez aka Ray Martin(Jared Leto) is a smooth operator who swindles rich and lonely ladies. He places classified ads and uses his communication style to enamor the ladies. On one such occasion, he meets Martha Beck(Salma Hayek). Realizing she is an unemployed, he leaves in a hurry. But fate brings them together again. Together, they plan to swindle rich lonely women. At one point, the investigation and the lives of the swindlers are linked together.
Todd Robinson directs this story that is based on the story of Lonely Hearts Killers. Elmer Robinson is Todd’s grandfather. Todd tells the story of a man who is trying to redeem himself after losing his wife. The story unfolds in two tracks – Elmer’s and Ray-Martha’s – and the movie switches these tracks effectively. This technique helps to build the suspense and to highlight the emotional turmoil of Elmer. The movie is fast paced mostly except during the final phase at Rainelle’s house. This is where the killers undergo conflicting emotions and the movie slows down to explore them.
John Travolta excels as Elmer. As Elmer, he successfully portrays the confusion about his wife’s death, the guilt about the affair with Rene and the importance of solving this crime for redeeming himself. Salma Hayek’s Martha is crazy and she peels the layers gradually always making us feel there is more to come. In the final sequences, she is fantastic. Jared Leto reacts to the situations well but is overshadowed by Salma Hayek. James Gandolfini and Scott Caan has nothing much to offer.
There are plenty of love making scenes and also gruesome murders in the movie. The movie is a recommended; but keep the kids away.
Picture Courtesy: Yahoo! Movies