A plane bound for Miami from D.C. crashes after takeoff, killing everyone
on board. Among the casualties were Peyton Van Den Broeck (Susanna Thompson)
and Cullen Chandler (Peter Coyote), two lovers on their way to a romantic
weekend together at the beach. The trouble is, they were both married to
other people. Peyton's husband is D.C. police Sergeant Dutch Van Den Broeck
(Ford), an internal affairs cop working on a case to bust a couple of his
crooked colleagues. And Cullen's wife is New Hampshire Congresswoman Kay
Chandler (Thomas), who is currently up for re-election and working closely
with her publicity man, Carl Broman (director Pollack). When Dutch discovers
that his wife was not registered in her own name on the flight, his detective
instincts kick in. After some digging, he finds that she was traveling with
another man registered under the name "Mr. and Mrs. Cullen Chandler."
And that leads him to Kay.
At first Kay doesn't want to believe Dutch; the death of her husband
is painful enough without the embarassment of having been cheated on. But
as he continues to press her for her ideas and feelings on the union of
their respective better halves, the two grow close, and the issue changes
from "what are we going to do about them?" to "what are we
going to do about us?"
Assuming one can swallow this film's premise (try drinking a lot of water),
it is not a bad cinematic experience. Thomas is engaging; Ford is a bit
stiff, but still believable, but the two definitely have something going
on (maybe they're cheating on Melissa Mathison and François Oliviennes).
It goes on too long for such a film; there is a complicated subplot about
Dutch's investigation of a fellow police officer that seems totally unnecessary.
Perhaps it was included to balance with Kay's re-election story, but it
muddles the love story and adds a half hour of unneeded filler. Besides
the inclusion of this subplot, Pollack obviously had some difficulty in
finding his scissors; there are many long pauses and unnecessary digressions.
Random Hearts is a nice showcase for Thomas's talent, and it's a slight departure for Ford, which makes it more enjoyable than watching him punch people out on an airplane. But you still have to get your mind around that silly premise. Good luck. ****
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