The Discovery of Heaven
- 2h 30min
God is disappointed with the human race and wants his stone tablets back. An angel is given the assignment and, with Gabriëls help, tries to manipulate several humans on earth to get his job... Read allGod is disappointed with the human race and wants his stone tablets back. An angel is given the assignment and, with Gabriëls help, tries to manipulate several humans on earth to get his job done. But humans have a will of their own...God is disappointed with the human race and wants his stone tablets back. An angel is given the assignment and, with Gabriëls help, tries to manipulate several humans on earth to get his job done. But humans have a will of their own...
In the script they made a good effort to condense the book to its bare essentials by selecting the most relevant parts for the movie. But there are (also in the book) irrelevant loose elements that seem redundant and distract from the core message: Vietnam demonstrations, the whole Cuba part, some characters and relations add little. And there are things from the book they could have used like all mothers having the same face after the tablets are placed. Stephen Fry's often failed attempts to be funny are out of place although the book contains some humor: The weapon course in Cuba and Onno's walking stick interpreted as a miracle when seen as Moses' stick. The ending is better in the book than in the movie, where it is somewhat banal.
The pacing is unnecessarily slow despite the enormous amount of events happening in both the movie and the book. The story is told in a very predictable and straightforward way; the director Jeroen Krabbé is just not up to this job and has little imagination and visual style. Take the many direct references to religion and heaven and even the way heaven is represented. Or the clumsy way the deaths are foreshadowed with a short flash. I guess Peter Greenaway (planning to do a movie on Rembrandt) would have been a better choice as director, but this had to make some money being a lavish production for Dutch standards.
The role of God and angels is comparable here to that of the writer of the book; in the movie to the role of the director (and even actor Krabbé as angel). Because the best movies are usually about other movies, the book and script lacks writers, photographers, painters or publishers to lift this to a meta-level. Here we have the relative mundane politicians and scientists.
As science is about everything that can be potentially explained, religion is about everything that can not be explained rationally. The book and movie's statement that physics may one day take over religion, or make religion redundant, is fairly accurate as metaphysics is coming increasingly closer to a theory of everything. But as our knowledge increases, a warning is issued that it will not necessarily lead to a greater happiness or higher morality. The book and movie mixes small, uninteresting stories with larger-than-life stories in a strange and awkward way. It also messes things up inconsistently (e.g. in the book there is an image of concentration camps in space). Some of the book and movie consists of contrived, pseudo-intellectual nonsense, being deliberately pretentious lacking any mastery of the art form at hand (be it writing or film-making).
- Aug 2, 2005