Review – A Heartbeat Away

Watching Australian films is like playing Russian roulette but the gun is loaded with bullets and only one chamber is empty. I held my breath for ‘A Heartbeat Away’ in hopes that I wouldn’t get a bullet but about 5 minutes in…BANG! ‘A Heartbeat Away’ tells the story of a small town marching band that owns a piece of land the local council want to redevelop. The developers discover that the marching band forfeit the land if they disband and work hard to break them up. Just when things are looking dire a young musician Kevin (Sebastian Gregory) steps in to lead the band to victory at a local marching band competition and keep them together. ‘A Heartbeat Away’ is a puff piece of cinema that has the plot to keep any good soapie going for the next century and some average performances to match; it’s just a bloated episode of ‘Neighbours’ or ‘Home & Away’.

‘A Heartbeat Away’ in its essence is your classic Australian underdog story so you’re expecting a lot of charm and some interesting characters, but you get nothing. You have a marching band full of old geezers which should be a goldmine of material but they do nothing and just complain the whole time which is a real letdown. Making things worse are the performances from the young cast especially the most well known cast member Isabelle Lucas (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) who is possibly the worst actress of her generation. I understand some people find her nice to look at but she comes across as just an airhead and any dialogue that comes out of her mouth turns to dirt.

The overall feeling you get from this film is embarrassment because a lot of effort has been put into the production and none of it comes together, it’s kind of like when your partner comes home with a bad haircut and you don’t have the heart to tell them it looks terrible. A have a great sense of pride for Australian films so it hurts even more when a dud like ‘A Heartbeat Away’ comes along but it’s something we’ve become used to in this country, for every ‘Animal Kingdom’ we have to put up with at least 20 films like ‘A Heartbeat Away’. The same could be said about the Hollywood studio system but they get points for actually properly funding their films, I’m not going to go on a rant about the Australian film industry but this film broke my faith again.


The Popcorn Junkie