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Heaven
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Heaven More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful rendition of a Kielowski theme!

9/10
Author: Peegee-3 (poetsrx@webtv.net) from Santa Monica, CA
13 October 2002

At least we have the inspiring covert theme that the maestro K.Kieslowski gave us in the handful of masterpieces he created, now in "Heaven."

Tom Tykwer is to be thanked for that. While his direction of this complex, morally challenging film doesn't have the rich, visually telling contrasts of dark and light of the maestro, it remains true to the heart of the matter.

Phillipa (brilliantly portrayed by Cate Blanchett) isn't a criminal, although she perpetrates a couple of horrendous acts. Her intended victim is an affluent drug dealer, protected by government officials. He's responsible for her husband's death and drug luring of children and is deliberately shot by her, only after a bomb she planted, meant for the dealer, inadverently kills four innocent victims.

Is this forgiveable? Not in the legal sense...and she's willing to take the consequences. Her horror and remorse at the accidental killings moves a young policeman to a passionate identification with her...to the point of putting his own life on the line by helping her escape...and then going with her.

What we're lead to feel and understand in a covert way is that responsibility is more profound than legal limits. Transcendence of worldly affairs...especially when the institutions of society are corrupt...brings a person of substance to a choice, an existential choice that can best be resolved through conscience and love. In this case, the lovers chose their own fate.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Filippo and Philippa Overlook Murder, Fall in Love

7/10
Author: Ralph Michael Stein (riglltesobxs@mailinator.com) from New York, N.Y.
12 October 2002

Did anyone realize how silly the first names of the principal characters in "Heaven" sound when put together? Well that may be about the only humor coming from this starkly filmed story of a woman, Phillippa (Cate Blanchett) whose misplaced bomb doesn't kill the suave Turin drug czar whom she blames for her husband's OD death. Who does get killed are a father and his two little kids and a cleaning lady.

Having phoned in a confession to what turns out to be a bunch of carabinieri somewhat below the ethical and legal standards of their famous force, Philippa is arrested and interrogated. An Englishwoman teaching in Italy, she understands but refuses to answer in Italian.

Lucky for the interrogators a youthful new recruit, Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi of "Boiler Room" fame), son of a high-ranking carabinieri officer, is bi-lingual and he undertakes first to translate, then to facilitate the beautiful Philippa's escape from a police force that he senses but doesn't know has no intention of letting their prisoner get to a courtroom.

The developing love story only makes sense if you accept that very young police officers can fall almost instantly in love with a beautiful murderess during an interrogation. Happens every day.

What makes this film gripping is the incredible Cate Blanchett whose emotional depth makes her - and her motivation for her homicidal act - believable. Ribisi is very good too but it's Blanchett's film start to finish.

The enigmatic ending leaves viewers who care about the story with questions. Should we view sympathetically a person who wanted to smash a drug ring by taking out the honcho by explosives? Can we say "mistakes will happen" after briefly seeing flesh and blood innocent people about to be eviscerated by a bomb? Why does the confused killer have to be so stunningly gorgeous (and talented)? I don't know.

What I do know is that an incredible tie-in marketing opportunity was lost here. Why didn't the producers get a laundry detergent company to fork up big bucks (or EUROS) for product placement in the film? Blanchett's white t-shirt, worn when arrested and still on at the end of the film, remains blindingly white without the slightest spot despite a week and more of incarceration, flight and urban and rural adventures. I'd buy that stuff!!!

For the film, 7/10, for Cate Blanchett 10/10.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I was truly inspired by this film

Author: simplyjah from New Mexico, USA
7 October 2002

I was drawn to see "Heaven" while in Los Angeles because of the cast. Giovanni Ribisi and Cate Blanchett happen to be my favorite actor and actress. The material didn't matter so much, I just wanted to see their work - but when the film opened, I could tell I was in for a treat. It was a full, beautifully crafted story, and the acting all around is just heartfelt and exquisite. I had seen the director's previous work and also liked that - but this film has a life all it's own. With so many movies being released, I am so thankful a gem like this is among them.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great Start ... Peters Off

Author: jmatrixrenegade (jmatrixrenegade@aol.com) 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 2 people found the following review useful:

Sent her an angel

Author: (sprengerguido@hotmail.com) from Taipei
2 October 2002

I have to admit, I like Kieslowski better since he's dead. This one is just as beautiful as any Kieslowski, but Tykwer - who manages a much wider range of style than the older film maker - gives his direction a freshness which is lacking from Kieslowski's somewhat conventional idea of beauty.

The film is dense and calm, artful and exciting at once. It is rewarding to watch it as a deeply religious movie: The young police officer who helps the hapless assassin embodies her personal relation to god - her angel, actually. He was born on the day of her first communion, he bears almost the same name, and by the end of the film, the two even start to look the same. Thus, the film is not about the risks of crime fighting on your own account, but about guilt and redemption.

I'm not religious, but I found that very touching.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

May not be the best of films, but certainly better than SOME REVIEWERS might think...

Author: Tom Chladek from Adelaide, australia
24 September 2002

Some people argue that Cate Blanchett is too static, and thus a poor actress. To those people I stress that they watch all of her films - from her early Australian films to The Gift, Bandits and Lord of the Rings. Cate Blanchett would have to be one of the most versatile actors in the international film industry.

In my opinion, it is her 'static' performance which adds life and humanity to her character in this film. The film may be disappointing, considering that it was crafted by a modern master (Tykwer).However, The film deals with some very tough, uncomfortable issues- which prove challenging for the best of filmakers.

This film is certainly not in everyone's taste, however, both lead performances are brutally honest...

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Maybe this is Heaven?

Author: Mattydee74 from Sydney, Australia
17 September 2002

There are films about loss and films and learning and "Heaven"

unites the two in a subtle but painful union. Maybe the distance

between these two opposites is not ever as measurable as when

united and Heaven may be the place.

Based upon a "screenplay" by Krystof Kieslowski and his writing

partner, Tom Twyker has created from these ashes a film

necessarily different but maybe closer to its source. In uniting

difficult partners - dead and living, criminal and police, innocent

and guilty, honest and dishonest, alive and dead - Twyker

manages a film so impossibly, absurdly beautiful it threatens to

cave in upon itself but never does. Rarely does a film so

provocative and yet gentle leave me so still and yet moved. I

haven't the desire nor passion to tear apart the odd feelings this

film left me with...except to say maybe this is heaven.

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1 out of 2 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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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Very good

Author: screamer-13
14 September 2002

Very good. The acting was commendable, but I felt it was Tom Tykwer's direction that held the movie together. At times I was thinking "Yes, this scene is beautifully filmed, Kieslowski is indeed a genius" until I remembered that he was dead and Tykwer was directing. The script was excellent. There was a lot of subtlety in it - mixed emotions; characters hiding things from each other and from the audience; a sense of uncertainty throughout... there was some effective symbolism too, although the one part I didn't quite understand was the physical transformation of the two fugitives, which felt like it was supposed to mean something deeper but kind of passed me by. The ending was good - managing to be typically different from your average ending, while remaining completely clear and reinforcing the meaning of the film in its entirety. After the film has finished you can reflect on which of the characters went to heaven, and why, and whether they went there together, and even at what point in the film their journey began, or ended.

I shall conclude by saying that my favourite scene of the film was a 5-10 second still shot of a beautifully serene landscape.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Excellent acting and full of suspense

8/10
Author: George Wright from Canada
24 June 2012

Heaven is a chilling movie, full of suspense, that takes the viewer into the world of two young people on the run. It begins with a powerful dramatic punch that sets the course and tone of the rest of the movie. I must admit to liking subtitles, since I have hearing loss but I also find the Italian dialogue gives realism to the location. Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi are the unlikely couple, who find themselves fleeing the authorities. Ribisi plays an extraordinary role with total credibility, devising clever strategies to foil the police. Blanchett is a powerful presence who keeps the audience riveted to the screen, particularly in the opening scenes. The acting is superb by the supporting cast as well as the leading actors. The cinematography is excellent, and spans scenes of narrow streets, villages, barns and warehouses as well as the open countryside. I didn't find the movie slow and brooding, as some suggest. On the contrary, it seems to move quickly without flagging. There are some tender moments that are very moving. The ending is subdued but the overall impact makes it well worth viewing.

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