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Reviews & Ratings for
Heaven More at IMDbPro »

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Heaven has a beating heart. And it's called Cate Blanchett.

Author: Satria from Berlin, Germany
7 February 2002

Tom Tykwer's HEAVEN is a beautifully crafted film that is not afraid to wear it's heart on it's sleeve. Based on a brilliantly conceived screenplay by the late great director Kieslowski and his writing partner, it tells the story of a relentless woman bent on revenging her husband's death. This thriller-esque revenge plot quickly evolves into a philosophical meditation about guilt and unconditional love, the latter theme being a favoured subject of director Tykwer (though usually he likes to explore it through his own scripts). Tykwer's breakthrough film "Lola Rennt" (Run, Lola, Run), though mostly remembered for it's fast-paced flashiness and unique style, showed in it's rare quite moments the central characters discussing the nature and strength of their binding love. His next film "Der Krieger und die Kaiserin" (the immediate predecessor to "Heaven") was centered on the unusual and seemingly doomed love of two outsiders.

"Heaven" is quite different from the vastly underrated "Der Krieger..." and the slightly overrated "Lola", though. It is Tykwer's first film not to be shot in his native tongue German. Taking place in Italy and revolving around a British teacher and an Italian policeman the dialogue is in almost equal parts Italian and English. But all linguistic matters aside, even more important is Tykwer's change of style. He courageously refrains from all the audio-visual gimmickry that made his previous efforts such unique experiences - and it pays. The calmness in editing, the unobtrusive score and the absence of excessive video-clip aesthetics give the audience the chance to breathe in the wonderful photography by Tykwer's longtime cinematographer Frank Griebe and the touching, vulnerable performances by the divine Cate Blanchett and the ever talented Giovanni Ribisi (their coupling in "Heaven" strangely echoes their appearances in Sam Raimi's "The Gift", in which Ribisi's character seems to be equally obsessed with Blanchett's character, who plays a widow in both films.)

"Heaven" will definitley not be everbody's cup of tea. Tykwer's unapologetic commitment to heartfelt emotions will not ring true for every viewer. Those who won't buy into the melodramatic parts of the film might call it borderline-sappy or worse. Others might regret that the film doesn't follow it's thriller narrative, dropping it instead for a love story. Also, though the script is carefully constructed, some viewers might have problems with their suspension of disbelief. Not everything happening could be called believable or even logical. And there is some dialogue, that's hard to swallow. So some of you might chuckle instead of shedding tears. But if you're like me you will not care about those storytelling technicalities. You will thank the director for being true and not holding back on emotions. You will enjoy the minimalist realism of Ribisi's acting. And you will hope for the next time you can revel in the pure bliss that is called Cate Blanchett.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"Quiet, imaginative and graceful love-story..."

Author: Sindre Kaspersen from Norway
7 February 2013

German screenwriter and director Tom Tykwer's fifth feature film which was written by Polish filmmaker and screenwriter Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941-1996) and Polish screenwriter Krzysztof Piesiewicz, is based on their trilogy "Heaven, Hell and Purgatory". It premiered In competition at the 52nd Berlin International Film Festival in 2002, was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 27th Toronto International Film Festival in 2002, was shot on locations in Italy, England and Germany and is a USA-Germany co-production which was produced by producers Stefan Arndt, Frédérique Dumas, Maria Köpf, Anthony Minghella and William Rorberg. It tells the story about a schoolteacher named Philippa Paccard who is arrested after having placed a bomb in an office building in Turin, Italy. During interrogation, she learns that four innocent people were killed in the bombing and that she is believed to be a member of a terrorist organization.

Subtly and precisely directed by German filmmaker Tom Tykwer, this finely tuned fictional tale which is narrated from the two main characters viewpoints, draws an eloquent portrayal of a young Italian policeman who falls in love and begins sympathizing with an imprisoned English woman. While notable for it's naturalistic milieu depictions, sterling production design by production designer Uli Hanisch, cinematography by German cinematographer Frank Griebe and use of music, this character-driven and noir-like drama depicts two charming studies of character.

This modestly romantic, atmospheric and at times humorous thriller which is set in the city of Torino and in the medieval renaissance hill town of Montepulciano in Italy, is impelled and reinforced by it's cogent narrative structure, endearing characters and the likewise acting performances by American actor Giovanni Ribisi and Australian actress Cate Blanchett. A quiet, imaginative and graceful love-story from the early 2000s.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Catherine Blanchett --grossly underrated, remarkably skilled

Author: willist1 from USA, Texas
2 June 2010

Blanchett is superb in Heaven. It is a movie that is subtly unnerving.

If you are not familiar with her work, this is a good place to view her remarkable skills.

Is she a terrorist? Not in reality.

Is she simply angry? Yes. Yet her drastic action is sparked by so much more than anger.

Why are her many complaints buried by authorities? Or, are they buried?

This one is memorable.

Blanchett is grossly underrated. If you've not seen her works do so. You will not be disappointed.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A poetic drama

Author: Sean Victor from Brazil
6 January 2008

I want to say you will never watch another film like this! This incredible, loving, sublime, poetic drama film has a strange beauty and its gonna take your emotion higher than you ever felt! The direction is just perfect, may be the best Tykwer work, the actors should was nominated for an Oscar... Cate Blanchet took this film on her shoulder, and she did a really good job! Congratulations Tom Tykwer for have created a masterpiece of emotion. An Poetic sense of human behavior and their feelings after all.

And if you never saw this film before, believe me, don't miss it! I mean It!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: coagula from United States
24 December 2004

From the director of RUN LOLA RUN, this film's protagonist wants desperately to blink and re-do what she did, but cannot. Fortunatley, the compelling motivation for her crime enraptures a young cop and off they go in an intelligent evasion of the law, and a vigilante style revenge, which she does feel quite guilty for, and yet they run.

Beyond the plot is a great style of moody precision, and plenty of air to breathe as you sit in the room alone with these two. The pace shifts from intense thriller to ephemeral fleeting love, but keeps everything believable. While the young cop plans things in a Tarantino-like manner, the protagonist plays along, not believing what she has done and not believing her good fortune. Her disbelief in love is unpeeled slowly, brilliantly, in a great film.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

great movie

Author: Gabriel Henriquez from Panama, Panama
10 December 2004

Its an excellent movie. The comments made by other posters sound childish and the result of too much Hollywood style cinema. This is a movie thats probably more appreciated in Europe, where films are more about people, feelings, relationships, etc. For example, some posters criticized the relationship between Ribisi's young character and Blanchet's. In my opinion, thats a highlight. He doesn't wet his bed just because "hes in love", he does it because he falls for a woman he knew before as a nice lady and now shes a terrorist who killed 4 people by mistake. Its drastic; he knows this may cause great problems in his life. And he spends his night thinking about helping this terrorist. He knows his risking his life. I bet many will not just wet their bed but who knows what else. She falls for him although too young for her, cause he's the only person that brought her back to "life" in a way. She wanted to kill and then she didn't care about the consequences. She even expected to fallin justice hands (she gave her name). Because of this young man's dedication and love, she wanted to live again, she felt regret for her taking justice in her hands, and tried to escape. And about the scenery, speed of the movie, music...just awesome. Beautiful..some scenes were like poetry. The movie is definitely not for everyone, but the ones who enjoy the different qualities in a movie and non-Hollywood, will enjoy it.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

pure poetry

Author: davor-pukljak from Zagreb, Croatia
20 July 2004

I started to watch DVD, with the intention to have a small preview, around midnight and couldn't stop. This film is exactly what I expect from Tykwer: excellent story, beautiful characters, perfect cinematography. Surrealism at its best. IMHO, comments about "immorality" and "weak end" are totally misplaced. This is just not that kind of film. Definitely, this film will not please everyone, since the characters are always keeping some distance from the viewers. Just like in Princess and the Warrior, these are people you would like to meet but you feel you would never be able to really know them. Like those people you can sometimes see passing the street while you wait for the light. They can hypnotize you just by existing. If you liked Kieslowski's films, you will not be disappointed - I could feel his handwriting in every second. Different from anything USA can produce (no offense), this film is the best Europe can offer.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

God's getaway car

Author: Terri from Bangor, Maine
2 April 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Warning: Spoilers

Pure intent sometimes triggers consequences that result in evil. Jesus teaches that it is not necessarily the deed itself, but the evil that is in a person's heart provoking the deed that leads one to immorality. Often, it is as difficult to separate the means from the end as it is the deed from the doer, but Krzysztof Kieslowski's Heaven, directed by Tom Tykwer, makes the effort. Heaven is a film that conveys the duality that is sometimes inherent in moral ambiguity and that exists within us individually and within society: good and evil, innocence and guilt, purity and corruption, atonement and freedom. Even the construct of the film reflects the dualism of its co-creators, Tykwer and Kieslowski. The first half is tight and intense with an opening sequence that is reminiscent of the action found in Tykwer's first successful film, Run Lola, Run, while the second half is slower, almost meandering, as if together they draw a parallel to life and afterlife. It may have been intentional since Kieslowski died before he could complete this film and Tykwer stepped in to finish it.

Philippa (Cate Blanchett) is a British schoolteacher living in Italy. She has witnessed her students being lured into drug use by the same source that killed her husband. Although she has repeatedly tried to inform the Carbinieris of his guilt, she has been ignored. Believing she has no moral alternative but to stop him herself, and completely willing to pay the consequences, she leaves a bomb in a wastebasket in his office. Fate intervenes, and even as she is making the phone call admitting to her crime, we watch as the elevator carrying the bomb and four innocent victims (two of them children) rises, and we hear it explode off the side of the building. After her arrest, Philippa learns of her blunder, and Tykwer's close-up lens allows us to watch her transformation from righteous anger to heart rendering remorse. Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi), the young carabiniere who is acting as her translator, is as transfixed as the audience and falls in love with her instantly and completely, as perhaps only the young and innocent are able to do. He concocts an elaborate plan to engineer her escape and they begin their journey toward oneness.

It is no coincidence that their names are the same, although that is the only resemblance we find in the beginning. It is only after they complete the mission she has already begun that they begin to fully unite. As they shave their heads and strip down to jeans and white t-shirts, it's hard to tell male from female, or older from younger. They sleep spooned into one other, inhaling each others breath as if that is all that keeps them alive. Perhaps it is.

The film deliberately slows its pace as the train upon which they ride passes through a tunnel from life through death to beyond and arrives in what could pass for heaven in anyone's imagination. Tykwer shoots the verdant landscape from above as if we were watching from the perspective of God. I half expected a tear to drop as it did in Gibson's The Passion of Christ, but this isn't a film where God weeps. It is instead a film where God provides the getaway car and that is its shortfall for many.

I must admit, the romantic in me loved it-symbolism and all. Their eventual union (at the highest point in the countryside) clearly invoked the spirit of Adam and Eve alone in the garden coming together under The Tree Of Life. Upon reflection it may have more aptly symbolized The Tree of Knowledge, for they chose their fate with their eyes wide open. Philippa was, in spite of her pure intent, responsible for the deaths of five people. Filippo, in spite of his pure love for Philippa, was responsible for the death of one. As childlike as they had grown to be in appearance, their innocence was lost forever. There were only two possible endings. One was to go out in a Bonnie and Clyde hail of bullets, and the other was to accept God's get-away car. When the film ended I had a big grin on my idealistic face.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Good, but only for the committed

Author: mark-4469 from United States
8 July 2008

I'm only posting because the previous post is ridiculous.

I'm a huge fan of Krzysztof Kieslowski's work, and I have enormous respect for Cate Blanchett and Tom Tykwer but this is a film that tries EXTREMELY hard to be something it is not. Perhaps its a reaction against his work in Run Lola Run, but the pacing in this film is ponderous without the weight to justify it.

From a technical point of view it is actually quite averagely shot (especially when you consider where it's shot) and I would have personally liked to strangle the crane operator. I get the strong impression it was a modestly budgeted film.

Having said all that, its very watchable if you are open to slow, deliberately 'arty' cinema. There are several scenes of real tension and emotional power, and the writing is terrific. When I saw it just now on Cable, I wasn't aware of who had written it. Now it makes sense.

So enjoy if you are in the mood. It certainly sparked good lively debate in this house. :-) But it is not a 'thriller' and it's not mainstream.

It's also not the best film ever made.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Mixed Bag

Author: saint999 from New York
8 October 2002

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 about a drug dealer she considers responsible for several deaths she decides to do the only possible thing: kill him with a BOMB set off in an office building DURING WORKING HOURS. If the character had gone totally beserk or was simply 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 straight face. This crud passes for moral complexity but actually it is just a jumble 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?

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