Map of the Human Heart [1993]

The visual sophistication of director Vincent Ward (The Navigator, What Dreams May Come) pulls us through this often awkward chronicle of the lifelong star-crossed passion shared by a Canadian Eskimo boy (Jason Scott Lee, from Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story) and the mixed-race girl (La Femme Nikita's Anne Parillaud) he meets and falls in love with as a child. (A glowering Patrick Bergin is the third corner of the triangle.) Flamboyant sequences, like an amorous clinch on top of a billowing dirigible, and the heartfelt grandeur of the Arctic landscapes, are almost enough to compensate for the clunky transitions and the melodramatic excesses of the storytelling. Almost. Ward's first film, The Navigator (not to be confused with The Flight of...), is a visionary oddity that gives a much clearer indication of the way his work was heading: into the upper atmosphere. --David Chute

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