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This is not an ordinary movie. Watching this film is like watching a poem. it is too bad that some reviewers here have to see everything in the plug and play mode meant for short attention spans. This is a work of art intended to be tasted, smelled, seen, and touched. It enlivens the senses, touches the heart, and moves you with little dialog. Blanchett doesn't have to speak. Her face tells the pain of her loss, her remorse for her actions, and her lack of relief from her revenge. Ribisi is stunning as the outwardly simple, infatuated boy-like man with subtly revealed inner strength and cunning. Sometimes it is nice to take a break from the usual fare and take a ride on a work of art. I loved this film and will watch it again.
This is an unusual film, start to finish, particularly finish. Why?
It's a suspense film but not all that suspenseful, especially in light of today's bloody action scenes.
It has an ending that is not really an ending.
It's not listed (or categorized at rental stores) as a "foreign film" but much of the movie is spoken in Italian.
In other words, this is hard to label. Throw in an odd romance, some spectacular Tuscan scenery (actually wonderful cinematography all the way through), a slow-moving but involving storyline and one of this generation's most-interesting actresses (Cate Blanchett) and you have a film worth investigating.
A word of warning, especially to younger people: this film might be too slow for what you are used to seeing. If you want action, skip this. This film is more for people into visuals and a different story. Subtitles also turn off a lot of people, and you need them here.
As someone who just loves great visuals, this is an astonishing piece of work - just magnificent to view. I also appreciated the director's "sky cam" with some wonderful aerial shots.
The "R" rating comes from a very, very brief sex scene, which doesn't involve the major characters. There is almost no profanity in here. A strange film to label but it sure is a visual treat. I liked it even more on the second viewing
'Heaven' is a wonderfully subtle film, full of refined camera work and
scarce in dialogue. It stands as a good representation for the 'X Filme'
project that Tom Tykwer co-heads, which aims to create films both new and
thought-provoking as well as successful in their theater runs.
At roughly an hour and a half, 'Heaven' is a cinematic triumph that nudges open the gates to the philosophy and psychology of the lone man or woman along with those of society on the whole. It takes place in Italy, but Tykwer himself stated in an interview that really it could have been shot in any number of places with the message remaining the same. 'Heaven' is a thinly-scripted, in-depth commentary on issues prevailing throughout the modern world. Drugs, sex, sexuality, identity and the fibres that make up humans as a race are what this film revolves around: it is not a film for tourists or spectators. The excellent performances of Giovanni Ribisi and Cate Blanchett (apart and together) should only be missed if you are mainly looking for external adventure and action. Though it shares its part in weapons, scheme and drama, 'Heaven' is not blockbuster material: it is art material.
A gorgeous film, start to finish. Within ten minutes you'll know your in
hands of a real talent. By the middle you'll be hypnotized. It's ravishing
And yet it's not all soppy. The whole point of seeing this film isn't pretty pictures, but a slowly evolving story and relationship between two people caught in a hellish situation. That it's gorgeous, fascinating, and spell-like all in one is just part of the treat.
I've seen other posters here complain that the direction of this film isn't in the tradition of "Three Colors" or other of Krzysztof Kieslowski's work; as if, because the story is based on one of his ideas, the follow-through had to be some sort of homage. That strikes me as totally irrelevant. The idea came to other hands, who made a film according to their own lights. There's no need to compare what-might-have-beens. This is a beautiful, transcendent film. See it.
Obviously, from the summary of this review, I consider _Heaven_ perhaps
the most beautiful film I've seen. As a writer and professor, I still
consider film my foremost love of all the arts. In consequence, I've
seen thousands of films--and those include nearly every one of the
hundreds which are considered the greatest in the medium.
After multiple viewings, I place Heaven at the top. The direction and cinematography are both remarkable, the story utterly compelling, and the performances--especially Cate's--beyond compare. It is actually the overwhelming power and beauty of Cate that's the core of the film's art. It's not just "acting," but the combination of unearthly beauty, top-tier cinematography, *and* her talent that makes this a level above Streep, Dench, Bergman, Hepburn, and any other great at their absolute best.
I suppose it's hard to imagine the existence of a full level beyond what we consider--previously--to have been the most beautiful and artful female performance on screen. But that level is here, and it's clear.
Cate Blanchett is Philippa, an English teacher who plants a bomb in an
office. She wants to kill the boss there because he is a drugdealer and
because his fault children died. The boss is not killed, four innocent
people are, including two children. In jail she is interrogated and a
translater named Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi) falls in love with her and helps
her. I will not reveal with what exactly or how he helps her but the woman
will have the chance to pay her dues on her own way.
The story set in Italy (Blanchett and Ribisi speak perfectly Italian in the movie) is a beautiful, tragic and intelligent one. The cinematography is great. Together with the music the film takes it time and doesn't rush things. It makes the movie, with a lot of symbolism, even more beautiful. Very interesting, written by the late Krzysztof Kieslowky (writer/director of Dekalog and Trois Couleurs) and Krzysztof Piesiewicz and directed by Tom Tykwer (director of Lola Rennt). Ribisi is very good and Blanchett is great.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
All movies are about other movies, never life.
Kieslowski made a career out of making films that take a national filmmaking style and twisting them to new purposes, letting us know he is doing so in the process. `Three Colors' was as much about French filmmaking and the French national character as it was the stories within. That business about watching with the watching creating accidents of fate...
He planned a similar trilogy that worked with Italian themes in life, but especially Italian filmmaking. Italian films are about the freshness of captured impulse, about excessive emotion and excessive theatricality expressing that emotion for the screen. About characters, never situations. About talking, often with overlapping threads. About the magic of place created by the magic of people.
Kieslowskis method (like Ang Lee's method) is to come ever so close to the soul of the thing but be different in ways that matter but don't necessarily show. That's why you end up haunted by something that seems ordinary.
In this case, we have the importance of family but it is outside of the peer pressure that drives the thing in Tuscany. We have the magic of the land, but it is magic that the characters enter by transcending it rather than the `normal' way of creating it in the soil by presence.
But most of all, we have passion almost exclusively without words. We have love driving fate and not the other way around. We have emotional minimalism down to the music. We have Griebe's odd colors like frescos instead of real earth. We have always the threat that this is really magical rather than real.
To make this work requires an actress who can pull the entire world with her. The less noise she makes, the more we hear. Cate Blanchett is one of the three most powerful, multilayered actresses alive, and possibly the only one whose scalp could become the whole landscape. Watch how much she does with so little actual motion. She's changing the way we dream.
BillyBob wrote `The Gift' as if he really meant it, and with the same two actors created something blunt.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
This is one of Blanchett's most under-rated pieces of work. Not only stunning in it's visual and directing effects, but it has a screenplay that is hard to beat. Blanchett and Ribisi have perfect chemistry and the intense storyline is there from the beginning. I can't believe some of these usercomments said that the movie was slow-paced. Huh? The last half hour or so wasn't as dramatic as the first half, but its obvious why...they are forming their connection. There is still the intense worry that they will be caught, but I personally was more interested in seeing them form and discover their love for one another despite the stressful circumstance.I recommend this to anybody who wants to see a unique yet still stunning movie.
When this film is good it is very, very good but when it is bad it is
horrid. Excellent cinematography, some excellent direction (the opening is
put together like a jigsaw puzzle and the plot and counterplot during the
interrogation of the main character was intricate and amusing), some
excellent acting. Unfortunately the motivation of the main character is
ridiculous beyond belief. When the Turin Police don't return her calls
a drug dealer she considers responsible for several deaths she decides to
the only possible thing: kill him with a BOMB set off in an office
DURING WORKING HOURS. If the character had gone totally beserk or was
a homicidal moron or even a terrorist ... but no, this is a loving teacher
of young children who faints in horror when she finds out four innocent
people got killed. Cate Blanchett should get an Oscar for keeping a
face. This crud passes for moral complexity but actually it is just a
of contrasting stereotypes stuffed into a single character. If you want to
see a movie about how good people end up as vigilantes see In the Bedroom.
After messing around with "moral complexity" the movie opts for being a love story and the luscious cinematography serves it well. There are many striking, haunting images. Ribisi is convincing as a strange, sweet young man who falls off a cliff when he falls in love. Blanchett shows no feeling at all. Maybe she is still trying to keep a straight face - the dialogue is awful. Then the cops arrive with assault rifles. But in shoddy movies men with guns can't hit the side of a barn so the lovers are able to steal the police chopper.
Did Tykwer mess up the script or was it just unfinished?
So here we have a woman, Philipa Paccard (Cate `Fellowship of the Ring'
Blanchett). She's out to kill a drugs lord, who indirectly caused her
husband to die. She wants to blow him to bits, but her bomb ends up
four innocents. Now she merely wants to finish her revenge. but imprisoned
she'll need help. Enter young guard, Filippo (Giovanni
Hmm. you see once you've got the plot. the movie doesn't go anywhere. It's a thriller/revenge story. and then it tries to morph into a love story. It's aimless though, a headless chicken of a beast, crashing about the place and circling all around itself (thematically). Character's motivations shift without any real good reason given (Blanchett wants to own up for her crimes, and then does not. Why?) The characters are grand enough but the relationship between Ribisi and Blanchett is entirely unconvincing - it's portrayed more as a kid crush that Ribisi has. This is the movie's biggest flaw - it's not going anywhere and ends up crashing (perhaps the opening sequence is a meta commentary on how the plot drives itself into a nothing of a dead end). It's not like that it's boring, it's more you're left at the end going, `Well what was the point of all that?' That's not good.
Acting? Blanchett is an acquired taste - very subdued, much more sublime than a lot of other Hollywood faces. Here it suits her fine - she's a tired, defeated woman, with a small bit of steel still inside her. She does tend to drift through the movie a bit, as if not really sure how to grasp her character. Ribisi again is good, although a bit too fresh-faced to carry any real chemistry with his co-star. At least he gets to talk, for a large bit, in a language other than English.
So is there anything to redeem this? Yup - the photography. Mmm - tasty! Director Tom Tykwer has some utterly wonderful shots - check out the gorgeous train motion shot, or the simply stunning twilight embrace later on. There're also some superb aerial and isometric shots. It's great for setting the atmosphere and distracting you from the aimless, drifting plot. It's all accompanied by a simple but pleasing musical score - basic piano, but mood setting without being distracting. The movie is also not too long so it doesn't overstay its welcome (so you do not become too irritated with its lack of focus).
`Heaven' is, if nothing else, a breath of fresh air. It looks great, has a nice and sedate pace that is too often lacking in the flash/bang of the modern flick. The weak script means it cannot be anything ever great, but its worth a perusal if you fancy a change from the mundane. 6/10.
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