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Heaven
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Reviews & Ratings for
Heaven More at IMDbPro »

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13 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Heavenly photography, somewhat more hellish script

Author: Aidan McGuinness from Dublin, Ireland
9 September 2002

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 killing four innocents. Now she merely wants to finish her revenge. but imprisoned she'll need help. Enter young guard, Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi).

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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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

far-fetched, kooky and unbelievable

3/10
Author: lonelybaker from United States
16 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

yes, i've seen Kieslowski's films and understand the intent...but this movie was just plain unbelievable. the opening was so promising! you anticipate so much--especially when Philippa is stunned, during her interrogation, by the fact that she's killed four innocent people and not her intended target. but, come on! what ensues is just plain nuttiness! this kid/man/boy that helps her, the roaming around the Italian countryside, the helicopter scene...too much kookiness to make it likable or believable. the scenery and cinematography are beautiful but it should have been a national geographic special--without the weird and unbelievable story. "The Decalogue" is what you should be seeing--for a good storyline, bold statement and good writing.

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

a quiet, poetic drama

9/10
Author: filmnoiresse from Seattle
14 February 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

i gave this movie a 9, because such an intelligent work of art is so rare in these days of big-budget action/nonsense. this is a poem to love and hope amid violence and despair.

blanchett and ribisi speak mostly italian (and do an excellent job) - that is, when they do speak. this is a quietly taut character study of two disparate souls who communicate mostly wordlessly.

the cinematography promotes the dream-like effect the story has on the viewer, bringing us intimately into the same space with the two main characters.

it became apparent the ending would be "sad," but i had no idea it would be so lyrical, so gentle, so hopeful. i strongly suggest this film to anyone who is interested in near-perfect acting, tight direction, lovely cinematography, and a story that will pierce you.

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13 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

'Arthouse' at its worst

3/10
Author: Arnoud Veilbrief from Amsterdam, The Netherlands
29 January 2006

What starts as an interesting psychological drama gradually derails into a shallow, third-rate melodrama. An utterly implausible story, riddled with (moral and visual) clichés, with the escape of the young couple by helicopter as its embarrassing low point. Admittedly, the camera-work is beautiful at its best moments. But even the images increasingly started to bored me, with its abundant use of filters and 'smooth' lighting, which the director probably mistakes for poetry. Even a pig stock is illuminated with a golden glow. There is a word for this: kitsch. Well suited for the Italian board of Tourism perhaps, or as an ad for a brand of tomato sauce in a ladies' magazine. Tom Tykwer can still opt for a different career.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Flawed Premise Feels Contrived

6/10
Author: pc95 from San Diego
1 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Although Cate Blanchett and Gio Ribbisi do competent acting in "Heaven", the movie's premise quickly starts to pull the movie down. Here we're supposed to believe that a school teacher can somehow turn bomber on the idea that a politician/drug-dealer is single-handedly responsible for ruin in her life and school system, and that alone fuels her murderous intentions. It doesn't hold weight for character motivation at all. Meanwhile Ribbisi's character is believable, but the situation becomes down-trodden and clichéd - and the storyline simply throws in the towel towards the end giving up. It is more interested in conveying mood than content. "Heaven" isn't a dud, but a sensationalized romance trying to somehow come across as original in which it fails.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Disappointing

Author: reccepatrol (reccepatrol@hotmail.com) from Montreal
25 January 2003

I was so excited to see another Tom Tykwer film (Run Lola Run, Winter Sleepers), and even more to see a Krzysztof Kieslowski story (Three Colors: Red, White & Blue) by Tom Tykwer. Unfortunately, I found it rather boring. I should have seen it coming. Tykwer, best known for his quick action montages seems to have tried to mimic Kieslowski's long and pensive style, to no avail. The story is thin and fairly uneventful. The long pensive shots I was talking about are stretched to awkward proportions. The acting is alright, but not terribly special. The cinematography was good, but not terribly interesting. I would have expected more from Tykwer. Unfortunately, I have to give "Heaven" a 6/10, and I think my grade is somewhat biased due to my appreciation of Tykwer's other works.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great first half, mediocre second half minor spoilers

6/10
Author: Proud_Canadian from Ontario, Canada
16 October 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw it at the Toronto Film Festival and liked the first half but didn't like the second half.

Cate Blanchette plays an English school teacher living in Italy. She plants a bomb in a drug dealer's office but a cleaning lady accidently picks it up causing the bomb to kill the cleaning lady and three other people. Cate Blanchette is brought in for police questioning where Giovanni Ribisi interprets for her and falls in love with her. Eventually they escape.

The first half where we see her plant the bomb and then the interrogations and the love story was rivetting. Cate Blanchette gave a strong performance and Giovanni Ribisi plays a smart, competent, young police officer very convincingly. The interaction between the two and the tension with the other actors is quite enjoyable.

Then, they escape and the film becomes a chase film. The scenery was beautiful and filmed to show off Italy's lovely landscape. However, the pace becomes erratic and the ending is typical of those wanna be art films that leaves the viewer scratching their head and saying, What the hell?" The characters really don't progress much after the escape and are given very little to do other than chew the scenery. Although, Cate Blanchette was surprisingly attractive with her head neatly shaved.

I gave this film a 6 because of Cate Blanchette and Giovanni Ribisi's acting as well as the breath taking scenery but I would rent it if I were to see it again.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Waste of what could have been a great film

3/10
Author: a1_andy_11 from United Kingdom
3 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Heaven had almost all the ingredients to make a great film; A good cast, Cate Blanchett giving a superb performance, and some beautiful cinematography. But the plot which is arguably the most important item on the list was one of the most unconvincing, ill thought out stories I've ever seen on film.

*spoilers*

In order to accept the story and follow it you have to accept the two main characters, who are both reprehensible. Philippa murdered 4 innocent people because of her ill thought out, cowardly assassination attempt on a drug dealer. We the viewer are supposed to let this slide because: a.) She didn't mean to, and b.) This drug dealer indirectly caused the deaths of 2 people close to her.

Filippo falls for her, and decides to help her break out of custody. He has a bit of an excuse in getting her free, he knows that people high up in the police establishment are complicit in covering up the actions of the drug dealer that Phillipa was trying to expose.

That is he could be excused if he broke her out of custody in order to uncover the truth about the crocked cops. That's not what happens, he falls pathetically in love with her at first sight, and devotes himself to keeping her away from the police for his own selfish reasons.

Phillipa states that she will answer for her actions, she just wants to murder that evil drug dealer. Filippo dutifully obliges with her wish and assists her in murdering the dealer. At which point Phillipa should now turn herself in, if she has one shred of integrity. She doesn't, they both continue to run from the police.

Filippo's father; Remo, is equally unbelievable. Police officer all his life and head of the police constabulary in Rome accepts his sons choice for aiding and fleeing with a fugitive because he is "in love". He even provides them with a chunk of money and offers to help them escape.

The final scene is hardly worth explaining; the police tighten the net around the duo and they again seemingly escape to yet another slow motion piano scored scene. I didn't mention the score - it's poor, the excessive piano used in every scene just drags on to monotony.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Simply Not Good...

6/10
Author: mail4gus (mail4gus@yahoo.com) from All Over, United States
25 March 2004

Ok, this is my second movie of this director after Lola Renn. First when you watch the DVD cover you see two superb actors as Giovanni Ribisi and Cate Blanchett (Both also in The Gift, that is a Raimi's excellent thriller) and also watch that is from Tykwer (specifically says "From the same director as Lola Renn"), you'll think that you are just ahead to watch an excellent movie. The start of the movie show some action but 10 minutes later the story starts to slow down and to became into a fictional story that try to make you think that Phillipo is an Angel who born the same day and hour than Phillipa and that his destiny is to help (and also fall in love!) Phillipa to escape from the law because she killed 4 innocent people when she was trying to set a bomb to kill the drug dealer who supplied the drug to her exhusband who died for an overdoze (besides that she was unfaithful in her marriage)!!!!!!!! can you imagine what a stupid and inmoral screenplay?... Things get worse when Phillipo help to Blanchett role to kill the drug dealer!... (very nice Guardian Angel!)

The last part is even worst, the scene where they escape in a helicopter from the police and dissapear in "Heaven", what a symbolic end! lol.

I enjoyed Lola Renn and the Color Trilogy, and i don't have anything bad to say about Blanchett or Ribisi, they have decent performs and the photography and locations are also good, but this story is not good at all!...

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Helicopt out

4/10
Author: gianniz from Palm Springs, CA
25 November 2002

Tom Tykwer has made three films about couples as social outcasts, and I think it's time he moved on to something else. Teaming up Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi as the lovers must be one of the bigger mis-matches in film history. Although in real life she's only five years his senior, in "Heaven" she seems old enough to be his mother. Worse, the dialog between them is so limited, I got no sense that they were in love. And speaking of dialog, if Giovanni Ribisi, born in L.A., is going to play Italians, he needs to be coached in correct Italian pronunciation. His vowels are too closed. Open wide for an 'Aaah', Giovanni.

While the first 45 min. of the film generate a certain amount of smooth suspense, once the plot leaves the interrogation format the film falls apart. In the print I saw, the Tuscany countryside is overexposed as orange and ugly. Sad music invites us to feel for the two renegades, but I couldn't feel much of anything. And who, in the end, ratted on them to the police? This is never explained, and as their helicopter soars up into heaven, I wanted the film to get down to earth and take care of unfinished business.

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