Offering a low-key, gently observational take on the scrambled chronologies of films inspired by Pulp Fiction, The Lawless Heart crisscrosses through time to tell three overlapping, interconnected stories that begin at a funeral, intersect at designated gatherings, and dovetail at the end. In the first, a melancholy husband and father (Bill Nighy) drifting aimlessly toward a midlife crisis is roused from his apathy by a flirtatious French florist who seems to offer at least a temporary escape from his humdrum existence. In the second, a brash free spirit (Sukie Smith) and a gay restaurant owner mourning his partner's death strike up an unlikely friendship that briefly becomes sexual, more out of mutual loneliness than desire. In the third and weakest story, a gregarious slacker (Douglas Henshall) returns to his hometown and begins a love affair that becomes complicated by his partner's tangled romantic history. The death of the restaurant owner's boyfriend unites the film's passive protagonists, as does the question of who will receive his money. In many post-Tarantino time-benders, gratuitous chronological hijinks serve as a gimmicky attempt to divert attention from one-dimensional characters, grating banter, empty style, and convoluted plots. Thankfully, that's not the case here; writer-directors Tom Hunsinger and Neil Hunter use structural shenanigans as mere window dressing for a film distinguished by character development, subtlety, a gift for telling detail, and a wry, understated sense of humor. Only the third storyline starts to feel strained. Hunsinger and Hunter don't have the time or space to flesh out a convincing love triangle, so they resort to shortcuts like a getting-acquainted montage that strikes one of The Lawless Heart's rare false notes–another of which involves its misleading name. Its protagonists' hearts aren't lawless so much as stuck in various states of quiet desperation, and the modest charms of this observant, affecting film fortunately bear little relation to the sensationalistic label.