Heaven

"Excellent"

Heaven Review


Before his death in 1996, Krzysztof Kieslowski left behind a final work, Heaven, as part of a trilogy that he intended to see directed by a series of three different filmmakers. While he didn't live to see his dream become a reality, the production company that held the rights to Heaven tried to make the film in the manner Kieslowski intended. Those familiar with Kieslowski's work will probably agree that the he most likely would have been proud of Heaven's result.

How a Polish script, a German director, an Australian lead actress, and an Italian-American actor managed to concoct such an authentic vision of the deceased French filmmaker is beyond comprehension, but they accomplished it nonetheless. Heaven looks, feels, and sounds like a Kieslowski film with its limited dialogue and slow, deliberate pacing, but it's actually the product of Tom Tykwer, who directed the acclaimed films Run Lola Run, and The Princess and the Warrior. Tykwer gives credit to Kieslowski's writing, but the cinematography, the scenes, the sound design, and the performances are a result of his decisions.

Tykwer was the right choice for Heaven; in fact, he provides the film with much tighter pacing than any of Kieslowski's works. As a result, the film is more involving and more active. Its themes are also more relevant and understandable, but Heaven is still premeditated, conceptual, and vigilant.

Students of film will notice many major similarities and differences between Kieslowski's French trilogy, Three Colors: Red, White, and Blue, and Heaven. All the films offer a contemporary exploration of the modern world and its moral choices; they also provide many signals and clues, but no easy explanation for the dangerous and desperate choices made by the characters. Heaven, however, layers itself with more clarity and voice, while the other films often become lost in their hushed atmospheres of inactivity.

The film takes place in Turin, Italy, where Philippa (Cate Blanchett), a teacher, has had enough of watching her friends and family die from drug overdoses and is tired of the police ignoring her cries for help. As a final measure, she plants a bomb in the office of a major, albeit undetected, drug dealer. After an unlikely twist of fate, the bomb is moved and mistakenly kills three innocent people, and doesn't harm a hair on the dealer's arm.

Philippa is arrested, interrogated, and suspected of being a part of a terrorist organization. No one is willing to listen to her stories about the drug dealer, either. Soon, however, yet another twist of fate erupts. One of the police captors, the quiet Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi), falls uncontrollably in love with Philippa and decides to help her in her quest to finish the justice she began. After he assists her escape, their journey becomes both a moral and physical maze with no clear exit.

Blanchett and Ribisi supply the film with the center of its moral dilemma. Their passionate, entrancing performances reflect certain guiltiness, while still inheriting a desperate innocence that justifies their actions. They force us as observers to get close to them in spite of their crimes, and we grow increasingly desperate with them as they try to find a way out of punishment.

The DVD features a handful of deleted scenes (none I'd consider a must-see), a making-of featurette, and a full-length commentary from Tykwer. Highly recommended disc.

Oh, the Madonna!



Heaven

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 21st February 2002

Box Office USA: $0.6M

Budget: $11M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films, X-Filme Creative Pool, Mirage Enterprises

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Fresh: 64 Rotten: 23

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Philippa, as Filippo, as Filippo's Father, as Regina, Alessandro Sperduti as Ariel, as Major Pini, as Mr. Vendice, as The Prosecutor, as The Inspector, Gianfranco Barra as The Lieutenant, as Chief Guard

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Advertisement
Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

With a sweeping, picturesque setting and emotive performances, this dramatic epic will appeal to moviegoers...

The Accountant Movie Review

The Accountant Movie Review

While this slick dramatic thriller plays with some intriguing ideas and themes, it never actually...

Train to Busan Movie Review

Train to Busan Movie Review

Leave it to the Koreans to reinvent the zombie horror movie and put a high-speed...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.