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Reviews & Ratings for
Heaven More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 28 people found the following review useful:


Author: Jacob Rosen ( from United States
21 February 2004

Though the screenplay was written by the late director Krzysztof Kieslowski with his collaborator Krzysztof Piesiewicz and advances their common theme of the duality in human nature, the compelling visuals are purely those of director Tom Tykwer, who continues to cement his reputation as one of the most interesting European filmmakers working today. Since his breakthrough, the hyper techno-driven `Lola rennt', Tykwer has been moving towards a more studied, balletic mise en scene and here his subdued combination of remarkable aerial photography (the cinematographer is Tykwer's gifted longtime colleague Frank Griebe using a Spacecam, a descendant of the Steadicam) and tempered, deliberate pacing provides the film with a gliding, effortless feel that gives you the sense you're in a dream. Kieslowski's and Piesiewicz' oddball story has Cate Blanchett as a British schoolteacher in Italy plotting revenge on an industrialist she believes runs the drug cartel that caused her husband's fatal overdose; when her plan goes awry, killing innocents in the process, she's arrested but is helped to escape her interrogators by a police stenographer (well-played by Giovanni Ribisi) who has immediately fallen in love with her. Strangely enough, Tykwer's smoothly measured cadences make it all seem plausible, even the ponderous philosophical aspects of the script, which are somewhat hazy. But the material itself is not the director's primary focus; he prefers to let the dazzling skyborne images of the Italian countryside sing to the viewer and the sense of being rhythmically lulled into a lilting, floating euphoria is what lingers long after the film is over.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Developing character study, Blanchett and Ribisi are excellent to watch.

Author: TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
27 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie begins with what turns out to be a simulator, for training a helicopter pilot. We have no idea why that is shown, and it doesn't appear to be part of the story, until it becomes clear at the very end.

As the movie resumes, set in Italy, we see Cate Blanchett as Philippa, obviously rigging up some sort of explosive device. We have no idea why, but we see her proceed with a stern purpose. She speaks Italian and we assume she is Italian.

Giovanni Ribisi is young scribe and, as it turns out, translator Filippo working for the Italian police. He too is Italian but also speaks English.

The rest of this may contain mild spoilers, so beware. Philippa has recently lost her husband to a drug overdose and, as a substitute teacher she has seen several of her students become addicted to drugs, at least one killing herself. She knows the culprit, a wealthy businessman who had known her husband from college. She has made calls and written letters to the police about him, to no avail. So she has taken the law into her own hands, rigging an explosive device to be left in the businessman's office, to kill him. As fate would have it,the device was put into a trash can, picked up by the cleaning lady, rolled into an elevator with a man and his two small children, and the explosion killed all 4 of them, but the businessman is still alive.

She is arrested and that is where she meets Filippo. She really is British, and insists that her testimony be in English, which is her right. So Filippo translates, and incidentally also falls in love with her.

So the movie is really about this woman bent on getting rid of the drug czar, while developing an unlikely relationship with this young man. Good movie, interestingly done with good acting.

MAJOR SPOILERS. Filoppo grew up around the police headquarters where his dad worked. He hatched a scheme to break Philippa out, and hid in a secret place. He also arranged to have the businessman show up where she could shoot and kill him. Both on the run, they get cornered at a friend's rural house, but they manage to escape by jumping into the police helicopter. The movie ends as we see them going farther and farther up, straight into the sky, to "heaven." We sense that they will not survive much longer, but they left the Earth in love.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A romantic fantasy that you really cannot believe.

Author: Jay Harris ( from United States
17 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Heaven is artistically made, The sets & settings (Milan Italy & surrounding area). The cinematography is very beautiful.

The acting by the 2 leads is first rate all the way.

Cate Blanchette plants a bomb that kills 4 innocent people & not the person she meant to kill. She is a very talented actress & does a fine job.

Giovanni Ribisi plays a 21 one year old new policemen who acts as Cate interpreter.He looks even younger than that even tho he was just under 29 when he made this film.

Now these 2 very mismatched persons fall in love, He even jeopardizes his career by his infatuation, His love even blinds his love for his adoring young brother & his policeman father.

They even have similar names & were born on the same day.

Can you actually believe this, he even helps her escape & they run off together. The ending is pure fantasy. If you paid attention to a short prologue scene, you will understand what happens.

If it were not for the excellent acting of the pair & the superb cinematography & excellent sets, (old Italian buildings) & beautiful countryside.. The film would not get this high a rating..

Eating *** (out of 4) 82 points (out of 100) IMDb 7 (out of 10)

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fair at best

Author: ejwells from USA
1 September 2003

Director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) resurrects a previously unfilmed script by the late Krzysztof Kieslowski (writer/director of the three films "White," "Blue," and "Red," known as the Colors Trilogy), with fair results. Cate Blanchett plays a bomber, doing the wrong thing for the right reason, and Giovanni Ribisi plays a sympathetic Italian cop who sees the good in her during the interrogation process. He helps her bust out, they go on the run. Run Ribisi Run. Yawn Viewer Yawn. As with Kieslowski's other works, this becomes rather haughty and metaphorical, so unless you have a taste for such things, leave her on the shelf. Personally, I give 'er a 3.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Great Start ... Peters Off

Author: jmatrixrenegade ( from NYC
6 October 2002

Given the excellent start of this movie, as well as the performances of the two leads, this movie was disappointing. I agree that the first minutes of the movie is ill advised. The first half of the movie is excellent ... the story of a desperate woman who decides to take the law in her own hands, but tragedy strikes, and the young Italian police officer who falls in love with her. Nonetheless, when this story arcs is complete, the movie (given the woman's own previous statement) honestly had nowhere to go.

So, it decided to change the rules. This might work, if the movie offered anything besides some nice visuals. The movie just ran out of gas, Cate Blanchett has little to do to show the excellence she showed in the first hand, and the movie started to get ridiculous. This would have worked great as a short film, but the second half of this movie didn't work for me.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Two good movies in the one flawed one...

Author: vampiresan from sydney australia
17 September 2002

and Cate Blancette is great in both of them.

Her performance is dazzling, the direction is visually interesting and compelling... but that doesn't change the fact that Heaven is two different films in one.

In the middle of the movie the film and characters completely change. Up until this point Phillipa (Blancette) is committed to paying for her crime of killing innocent people. But suddenly everything changes and next thing we know we are off into the countryside of Italy with Phillipa and her ardent admirer Phillipo, on the run.

It's not that the second half isn't interesting, it is. But it seems almost totally unconnected to the drama that happened before and what started out as an interesting exploration into the grief of a good woman who commits a terrorist act, it unravels into a strange love story.

I can't slam this film, it left me thinking about it long after it was over and the images and performances are startling - Giovanni Ribsi also giving a fine portrayal of Phillipo which will probably be overlooked in the wake of praise for Blancette.

But it's not a good film. It is a shame cause when i think about it - it could have been two really good films instead of one deeply flawed one.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

More Like Hell

Author: starrywisdom from New York NY
23 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a piece of pretentious claptrap. This is why I really, really hate European movies: they all seem to think breathless non-dialogue and ridiculous premises and big over-dramatic ambiguous endings are, you know, Art. More like Crap. Cate Blanchett was wasted and the other actors were just painful to watch. Not to mention the fact that the premise of this utter boresome snooze made no sense whatsoever. So, her husband was dead, there were drugs pushed by the big bad, she made an oopsie that killed four people, there are these Big Significant Connections between the two protagonists...what a crock. Doesn't require a suspension of disbelief but more like a total abdication of common sense. I really hope Blanchett didn't actually cut her hair for this, because it was a vain sacrifice if she did. There's a couple hours of my life I won't get back. Oh, and the half English half Italian dialogue trick was just plain tiresome. Do yourself a favor: go read a book instead. It gets a 3 for the gorgeous scenery and architecture. That's it.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Slow tempo towards the sky

Author: stensson from Stockholm, Sweden
5 August 2002

Is it possible to feel sympathy for a person who starts a film by killing four innocent people including two children? In a script partially created by Kieslowski, it is. In fact the main character, well played by Cate Blanchett, has good reasons for everything she does.

Even if the tempo is slow, you will probably not feel bored, even if you're not interested in discussing ethics. It's an exciting story, a touching love affair and you won't dislike the main character in the end. It's more complicated than that.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Some scattered thoughts

Author: Harry T. Yung ( from Hong Kong
16 February 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


Having seen none of Kieslowski's `colour' trilogy, nor even Tykwer's Lola Rennt, I was drawn to Heaven for only three reasons: Cate Blanchett, Cate Blanchett and Cate Blanchett. Actually there's one more: the description of a certain scene made by a commentator on radio

People seem to either love or hate this film. Those in the latter group have taken the `morality issue' very much to heart, denouncing the diabolical portrayal of a killer of four innocent people as the hero. The accent on `innocent' however opens up news grounds for debate of morality. Would it be assumed then that the killing of the drug dealer is a good thing? How about those who would take the view that it's a crime and a sin to take any life? Or is there a fine distinction somewhere as to under what circumstances a vigilant killing is justifiable? You see my point.

The first half of the film is intense, with frequent use of a slow moving camera to capture the moods. Love or hate, few can deny the mesmerising cinematographic beauty of the second half that takes the audience to an idyllic Italian countryside. In some cases, knowing in advance what the film is about helps in the enjoyment of it. For Heaven, however, I wish I had not heard anything about it, and would therefore be able to take in the amazement and wonder as each frame unfolds. Even this foreknowledge, however, did not diminish in any way the devastating impact of the magical `silhouette' scene. The audience in the cinema, in awe and wonder, responded in kind to the absolute silence that accompanied the scene….even the loathsome squeaking of the chair throughout the film in the next block came to a complete and total stop.

No doubt, members of the audience would make their free associations with the various images and symbols in the film. The one I have relates to the shots of the fugitive couple when they wake up in the morning from under the tree, close ups of their heads, in turn, facing sideways looking at each other. Maybe because of the ethereal light, my free association went to the baby in the womb at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In a film so rich in symbolism, it is a delightful surprise to see such a down-to-earth and damned touching scene of the father saying goodbye to them, particularly his kindness to this woman whom he could have very easily hated for taking away his son.

On the cast, nothing I can say is good enough for Blanchett. The delightful surprise is Giovanni Ribisi whom I though is an Italian (meaning physically in Italy) who happens to look familiar, but later found out to have played an excellent supporting role in two recent movies: Kendall in Basic, and John in Lost in Translation (which I saw only three days before Heaven).

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Is This Heaven?

Author: jlacerra from Philadelphia, PA
18 May 2004

Here we have a fantastically beautiful film. It never lets you escape the stark beauty of Italy, where even the police station is staged with loving cinematographical care. The initial scenes are taut and very well done. Later, when the main character played by Cate Blanchett learns she has hideously murdered four innocent people (including two children) instead of the drug kingpin she intended, she gives the only evidence of being an actress. It is a great scene with a well controlled metamorphosis, and it is the only acting either main character does for the remainder of the movie.

Both Blanchett and paramour Giavanni Ribisi seem oddly anesthetized for the rest of the picture. I was reminded of Pinocchio in reverse: the real boy turned to wood; he seems forever at parade rest. The Italian police are portrayed as a pack of well-uniformed and corrupt asses. And the ending leaves one a bit betrayed, mouth open saying, "Huh?"

If one wants profound symbolism and obtuse metaphors, read a book. A movie needs a beginning, a middle, and an ending, with some characters that spark sympathy, hatred, or some kind of interest. I didn't buy into the story or the players one bit. But I liked the movie for its relentless beauty, wonderful camera angles, and marvelous sets and locations.

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