31 user 9 critic

Heaven (1998)

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A struggling architect, being sued for divorce by his wife and struggling with booze and gambling, finds work remodeling a friend's strip club, the Paradise. There he meets a transsexual ... See full summary »


Scott Reynolds


Chad Taylor (based on the novel by), Scott Reynolds (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Martin Donovan ... Robert Marling
Daniel Edwards Daniel Edwards ... Heaven (as Danny Edwards)
Richard Schiff ... Stanner
Joanna Going ... Jennifer Marling
Patrick Malahide ... Melrose
Karl Urban ... Sweeper
Michael Langley Michael Langley ... Sean Marling
Jeremy Birchall Jeremy Birchall ... Tree
Clint Sharplin Clint Sharplin ... Nicely
Barry Spring Barry Spring ... Wibber
Jon Brazier Jon Brazier ... Billy
Dean Stewart Dean Stewart ... David
Jane Fullerton-Smith Jane Fullerton-Smith ... Candy (as Jane Fullerton Smith)
Jean Hyland Jean Hyland ... Mrs. Daniels
Valerie Williams Valerie Williams ... Claire


A struggling architect, being sued for divorce by his wife and struggling with booze and gambling, finds work remodeling a friend's strip club, the Paradise. There he meets a transsexual stripper who is bothered by accurate, but extremely violent visions of future events. The increasingly violent visions start including the architect, who doesn't believe in the prophesy. One who does however is a psychiatrist who is seeing both the stripper and the architect and is sleeping with the ex-wife. He uses the prophecies for his own financial gain. Finally the scenes from the vision move into reality amidst many plot turns. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every Seduction Is A Gamble.


Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for vicious, bloody violence including rape, pervasive strong language, and sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »



New Zealand | USA



Release Date:

30 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aihmalotos ston paradeiso See more »

Filming Locations:

New Zealand


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,983, 2 May 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,983, 2 May 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Robert Marling: I'm the chairman of the fuckin' board!
See more »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


(Jon Toogood (as Toogood) / Shihad)
Polygram Music
Performed by Shihad
Courtesy of Wildside Records/Polydor Records Australia/FDA Records
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User Reviews

A weirdly different film that is gripping, well told and, ultimately, surprisingly involving
5 May 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Robert Marling is a struggling architect who is a gambling addict, a drunk and separated from his wife. His wife is filing for divorce, seeking sole custody of their son and chasing Robert for more money than he has. The reason she is after the money is because she is having an affair with Dr Melrose, who is treating a stripper called Heaven. Heaven has a gift of premonition and she has seen Robert winning a lot of money from her boss, Stanner, in a card game. However, in her sessions with Melrose, Heaven tells him these visions - information he feeds to Jennifer's lover. Heaven also shares this information with Robert and, as a result, they get closer - however Heaven is also haunted with dark, violent visions of the future that she cannot fully understand.

I confused this film with another one of the same title when I videoed it last week. Despite this I decided to give it a try anyway and see if it was any good and I'm glad I did - which is not to say that I'm proclaiming this film for everyone. The plot is never less than weird, and this is possibly the only way to describe it. It goes places that I didn't expect and it goes there in moments of sudden pace changes or sudden violence. This is made more impacting by the non-linear way that the story is told, other reviewers have compared it to the backwards telling in Memento but it is not to that extreme. However we do quite often see consequences before the film shows us the actions that caused them. For the most part this seems to work really well, even if I would find it difficult to really explain why. What I do know is that the story and the manner of the telling served to pull me along with it effortlessly for the whole running time. The only word of warning would be that the film is quite graphically violent at times and the whole subject matter is unrelentingly dark.

The cast is a very strange mix that really reflects the strange mix of characters that are depicted. Mixing actors from America with those from New Zealand and Australia has a slightly confusing effect (at the start I thought it was happening in two different time zones) but the majority of them are worth this minor quibble. Donovan is nearly always watchable and he is here again, giving a great performance in a difficult role. Even more surprising is Danny Edwards, who plays Heaven without cliché and manages to make such an unlikely person into a character that I cared about. Schiff is a surprise and is very different from the West Wing character who I always see him as now; the film also has a pre-lord of the rings role for Karl Urban - he has not much character but he has a good presence. Going and Malahide are OK but really the film belongs to Donovan and Edwards (and to a lesser extent, Schiff) and they carry it well.

Of course by `belongs to them' I mean in the acting stakes as the film is very much the property of writer/director Reynolds. He gives the whole film a great feel and has written a script that could easily have been silly and exaggerated and it is to his credit that in his hands it only manages to be involving and really enjoyable.

Overall this is a great film that pleased me even more by the fact that I found it by chance. I'm sure many viewers will be put off by the character of Heaven, or the unexplained nature of her gift, or the way the film goes extreme places or even the fact that bits are told out of sequence, however I hope that most viewers will see these aspects as strengths - strengths that were held together by a writer/director who I will be looking out for from now on.

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