Here we are folks, proudly presenting you with The October Country's first honorary horror hunk of the year, Jim Sturgess. What credentials must one possess to acquire such a lofty position you ask? Well, being male is a start. Starring in a horror film (or films) can't hurt. It also helps if your film and your work within it is really, really good. Which is to say, Jim Sturgess possessed all of those qualities this past year, headlining in Philip Ridley's critically acclaimed UK horror film Heartless. Sturgess stars as troubled young photographer Jaimie Morgan. He's reclusive, shy, lonely and consumed with self-loathing. He's routinely taunted by the neighborhood children on his way home from work. Having no friends, his sole human contact seemingly resides in the loving support of his family. His wrists bear the scars of failed suicide attempts. The extent of his contact with the outside world (when he is not working) is through the lens of his camera. You see, the source of Jamie's self imposed isolation (and his torment) is a large disfiguring birthmark that covers his face and runs down the majority of his body. His deepest wish, is to be "normal" and after a series of increasingly troubling events, he's presented with the opportunity to realize that wish. Of course,it's a long road to hell from there on out.
"If beauty is the beginning of terror then why are kids even scared to look at me? Huh? I can't stand all this beauty is only skin deep crap because it's not. I can't imagine what it would be like to meet someone I like, to actually think that they might be interested in me. I'm never gonna feel like that. I'll tell ya what it feels like alright. It's like I've got this parallel life, over this life that I'm livin' where people look at me and they call me names and then I've got this other life where I'm just like you. I'm normal. In that life, in that life I meet like this beautiful girl and we do the lot, and we get married and we have a nice, a nice house. Have a kid. A beautiful baby girl, I'd love that. A chance to be a good dad. Just like my dad was for me..." - Jamie lays it on the line
The thing with Heartless is that it contains enough story and characters to fill out 5 films and running at 114 minutes, Sturgess (to the best of my recollection) is in every scene. That's a hefty weight to shoulder when it comes to a film that is filled with so many alternating tones and genres not to mention the ups and downs and twists and turns his character endures. In less capable shoes (given the journey the film takes him on) the character of Jamie could have easily ended up a huge enigma of a mess, leaving the audience with too many differentiating sketches of a human being to ever connect with and root for. Yet Sturgess nails it all, approaching every scene with talented aplomb. To be more specific of his journey would spoil the film though so I'll leave it at that. Suffice to say that never once does Heartless go where you think it will, not to speak of the dark territory you wouldn't expect our hero to traverse. So yes, Jim Sturgess turns in one of the finest, most memorable genre performances of the year in one of the finest, most memorable genre pictures of the year. However I would be remiss if I didn't offer up some of the other...eh...finer points regarding Jamie Morgan. Which is to say the unbelievable cuteness that he personifies. After all, this is essentially an eye candy hall of fame folks, don't let my pretense about art and performance lead you astray. With this also in mind, Mr. Sturgess easily made it to the top of the list.
Hotness Factor #1: That accent. He could recite the chemical ingredients off of the back of a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner and I'd still turn to pudding.
Hotness Factor #2: The birth mark. I know this is supposed to be seen as a horrible, ugly burden that Jamie has been saddled with but I can't help it. I like my fellas, different. Who wouldn't want their already cute as a puppy guy with a big heart shaped patch covering his left eye? Show of hands. Indeed I had a similar response to the character of Abby as played by Laura Donnelly in 2009's Dread. No dear readers, I don't have a fetish for it. I suppose I am just able to see the unique beauty in off-kilter physical quirks.
Hotness Factor #3: That birth mark extends past his face ya know.
Hotness Factor #4: Jamie's warmhearted, sad sack disposition.If any character this year begged to be scooped up and carried home with ya all the while intoning how ya'd make it all better, it was poor Jamie Morgan.
Hotness Factor #5: Jamie's Travis Bickle, sociopathic disposition. Who doesn't like their sweetie to have a lil' dark side? It makes for good romps in the sack, trust me.
Hotness Factor #6: He reads books. Specifically, Dante's Inferno (har har). Anyway, in this day and age...I'm just sayin'.
Hotness Factor #7: He really loves his Mum (and not in a creepy Norman Bates way) and treats her accordingly. Awwww, such a gentleman.
I could honestly go on but I think I'll let these ridiculous amounts of gratuitous photos speak for themselves. Oh yeah, hunt down Heartless when you get a chance. If not for the delicious Jim Sturgess who is all up in that shit, then because simply put, it's one of the most unique, exciting genre efforts of 2010.
"Listen to me Jamie. Your a beautiful young man. Beautiful, kind and generous."
- Jamie's Mum sums it up.