Haven (2004) Poster

(I) (2004)

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Great ensemble piece
terrywdhs14 September 2004
I just got back from a holiday in Toronto where I had the pleasure of attending the film festival there. One of the films I ended up seeing was Haven, which I knew very little about beforehand. What an absolute gem of a movie it turned out to be. Similar in structure to Amores Perros, the tale unfolds from different perspectives. All actors played their parts well but there were three who deserve special mention. Victor Razuk as Fritz and Zoe Saldana as Andrea are definite names to watch in future. However, Orlando Bloom was the real genuine surprise here. I don't think I have seen a more heartbreaking performance all year. The disintegration of his character - Shy - provides much of the emotional centre of Frank E. Flowers gripping first feature length movie. He is a director who is going to be talked about a great deal in the years to come. All in all , I would have no hesitation in recommending this powerful, though somewhat dark movie, to any discerning film-goer.
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A Nutshell Review: Haven
DICK STEEL18 January 2007
It all boiled down to one Friday the 13th night.

Haven takes place in the Cayman Islands, paradise on Earth, with beautiful beaches, friendly people, and of course, being the ideal place to stash cash, ill gotten or otherwise, free from taxation. In its seedier side, to paraphrase from another movie, weed is the currency, openly passed around in nacho chip bags. This movie ditches the idyllic moments, to peer beneath the veneer, of hell on Earth instead.

I like movies which have many characters, each with their own objectives, but being led by unseen forces as they relate to one another, and events bring them to within striking distance. They might belong to distinct story arcs, but given the geographical proximity, their lives, their decisions and the consequences all become intertwined.

There are three clear arcs in the movie, but the characters involved flit seamlessly from one arc to the next. You have the corrupt businessmen looking to escape the law at Miami, an affair, a daughter who hooks up with drugs and the wrong company, a sly thief of sorts, two star crossed lovers, a hot headed brother, good friends, and gangsters. On its own, they could be short stories. But when narrative style takes on the fragmented, non linear approach to spice and disguise an ordinary story, that's what you get in Frank E. Flowers' Haven.

Perhaps what will put bums in seats is the presence of Orlando Bloom, though the M18 rating would have restricted his girly groupie fans here from seeing their cinematic idol on screen in a role which is similar to what Tom Cruise did in Vanilla Sky, sort of. He plays the role of the Romeo in the star-crossed lovers arc, as Shy, son of a fisherman, still figuring out the meaning to his life, and having a lack of ambition which worries his girlfriend Andrea (Zoe Saldana). Parental disapproval gets into play, and the rest is a spiral downwards for both lovers and their relationship. Some say Bloom's role is intense, but there isn't enough room for his character to justify that.

And sadly, that was just about the better story amongst the three. In reality, all three could have been extremely short, as the scenes, though intercut with each other and had some overlapping moments, don't really contribute much to the characters or stories. You could have cut off half the fat, and still the story would hold water. One saving grace would be the score and soundtrack though, accentuating the illusion of paradise.

But this is not to say Haven's a really bad movie. It just had enough story elements to cruise along in auto-pilot, and in the process offer nothing groundbreaking stylistically, or earth shattering in having any twists and turns to the plot. Breaking up and juxtaposing a linear plot does not disguise the fact that it inherently needs a lot more oomph.
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"Traffic" with a touch of Quentin Tarantino
Tiedyedaisy14 September 2004
I saw the second screening of this film, at the Toronto Film Festival. It reminded me a little bit like the film "Traffic" with a hint of Quentin Tarantino. The movie threads together multiple story lines and shifts back and forth through time.

Bill Paxton has a great performance as a shady business man who escapes with this daughter to the Cayman Islands.

Orlando Bloom's character is the most endearing. I found I could relate to his character the most. Shy (Bloom) was the classic boy from the wrong side of the tracks, who is completely in love with the rich girl, Andrea (Zoe Saldana).

Zoe Saldana has a great performance as well. Her character goes from a sweet girl who makes a complete 180 turn to a druggie /(how to put this politically correct) very easy girl.

Overall I really enjoyed the movie. Frank E. Flowers did a really great job with his debut. The story was really intriguing and the setting was beautiful. A really well done film.
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Flowers' Film Blooms
tranquility_girl13 September 2004
I also saw the world premiere of Haven on Saturday at the Toronto film fest and all I can say is that I was completely blown away by it. I don't know what I was expecting when I went into the theatre but what I got was something that kept my interest peaked through out the entire two hours and had me filled with questions until the very end.

Every actor involved in Haven was perfectly chosen and held their own with spectacular performances. Personally, I think that Bill Paxton is at the top of his game right now and Orlando Bloom is just to die for as Shy, a young fisherman on the Island. Zoe Saldana had me in tears with her performance and I can't wait to see it again when it finally comes to theaters. I think it's fair to say that Haven will put Frank E. Flowers on the map and he has earned it with this movie. Unbelievable. I loved it.
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Too dreadful for words...but I'll give it a shot anyway: one fruitless attempt after another to be clever in this wanna-be movie.
Panterken12 September 2007
First let me explain my rating-system. I consider a 5 a movie that's somewhat watchable, a 6 is already a good movie. I gave Haven a 3 because the soundtrack was good and the acting wasn't horrible. Now over to the bad stuff...

I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone. Usually in my reviews I try to say something like: 'this movie isn't recommended for people who don't like slow-developing plots' or 'it's not for people who want the plot wrapped up neatly in the end'. But I can honestly and objectively say this movie was just one of poor quality. The biggest problem is the plot itself. The storyline is multi-linear, characters are being followed and they're all supposed to be connected in one way or another through an event or multiple events. Examples of brilliant use of this method is seen in Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Crash and Magnolia. In these films the story lines have similar prominent themes and the characters are all connected physically. Every character adds more elements to the story until we have a complex web of story lines, constantly crossing paths and having effects on one another. I know this sounds confusing but watch Amores Perros and Crash and you'll know exactly what I mean. Haven makes one fruitless attempt after another to be clever until all we end up with is an unsorted mess of scenes thrown together in a wanna-be movie. That's the best way to describe Haven: it wants to be a lot of things but ends up being rubbish.

The thing that irritated me even more then the gimmick mentioned above was the chronologically scattered framework that was used. I feel like they realized the plot and characters of their attempted intelligent film were overly simple, and they tried to jazz it up with a chronologically scattered framework to fool people into thinking they're watching something clever. I heard the story was chronological at the premiere of the Toronto film festival and then they re-edited the whole film to create the flashbacks. That's not the way to write a story with a scrambled up chronology. You have to actually write the script like that (with chronology switching from the start of your story) or the storyline will be a mess. The storyline has to flow naturally, even if you use chronology like that. A prime example a brilliantly written script that uses the same technique is Memento. The technique used actually adds something to the suspense of the story.

Nope, don't waste your time on this. I usually only write IMDb reviews for films I like but this film was just too dreadful for words, I felt it was my duty to stop another human being from seeing it. I don't see why anyone should see this movie. It's certainly not to be entertained and I hardly think anyone would be enlightened after seeing a film like this.

3/10 and I'm being generous.
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Brilliant cultural view
Elf_Addict5 July 2005
I count myself lucky to have been able to see this movie at the Toronto Film Festival where it premiered. I thought the movie to be a brilliant look at the culture, something we as Americans don't usually see. The acting was wonderful from everyone in it. I enjoyed the way it was edited together, following separate story lines individually, then bringing them together in the end. I was completely surprised that this film was not immediately grabbed up and sent to screens everywhere. Then again, perhaps it was just too deep for some. I had no trouble following the action, although I've heard comments that some people found it confusing. Perhaps they weren't paying attention...

Hopefully without giving anything away for those who haven't seen it yet... I felt so terribly bad for Shy at the end of the movie.

I can't wait for Haven to hit big screens everywhere. I want all my friends to see it! BRAVO to everyone involved in its production.

Pat Grant

UPDATE (Oct. 2006): I see Haven is FINALLY coming to theatres... However I have heard that the movie went through a MAJOR re-edit and is a lot different that the version we saw in Toronto. I'm sorry to hear that. But I will go see it and support it, no matter what. It has a great cast.
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Choppy seas don't always mean a rough ride
theyearofthebengal20 June 2005
I am glad to hear that this film will finally be released, albeit on DVD. I saw 'Haven' at the Toronto film festival and have been awaiting it's release ever since. I did think that the film was a bit choppy, which was mildly distracting, but that the overall ride was great. In following up his critically acclaimed short 'Swallow' with 'Haven', his feature film debut, Frankie Flowers proves that he is more than capable of writing and directing a full length film.

While it is a difficult task to jump back and forth in a timeline, from sub plot to sub plot, while keeping an audience interested; entertained; and able to follow, I believe that Flowers has done a splendid job despite sacrificing some of the continuity for stylistic shot making. Tarantino has tried, despite box office success, somewhat in vain in this regard for years. Movies such as Magnolia have come along and disappointed and perhaps the only film in recent years to truly excel in this style was Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's '21 grams'.

With strong performances from an ensemble cast of well known Hollywood stars and unknown local talent, 'Haven' is well acted from start to finish. Orlando Bloom leads the way with an excellent performance as the going nowhere fast 'shy', and proves that he can portray a modern day man between timepiece and fantasy blockbusters. Dare I say he would be better off, from an acting portfolio sense, taking on more of these roles.

I highly recommend 'Haven', especially in this age of over the top; special effects no plot movies. I hope that Flowers continues to be given opportunities to hone his craft and I look forward to his next piece.
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A stunning thrill ride through the wild youths and the crazed underground of Grand Cayman
Smile190224 September 2006
Speaking as a native Caymanian, I have to say I was especially impressed with this film. When news first got out of its production, I was sincerely hoping that it wouldn't amount to some lengthy, picturesque video brochure to attract further tourists to the island and, low and behold, it's anything but.

Haven is a gritty, fierce yet picturesque portrayal of realism surrounding Cayman's underground subcultures. From love to drugs to violence, Flowers and his team perform an astounding delivery of these themes through the use of raw, powerful drama, all the while winding around a multitude of heinous plots that grow and intertwine to the point of cataclysm. Brilliant.

Flowers is making a name for himself alright. And I'll be adding this thrill ride to my collection as soon as it hits DVD. Not jut because I'm a fellow Caymanian but because I consider this to be a great movie.
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Very interesting Indeed
dikshant18 March 2007
I had this DVD from a friend for quite some time, but because of its low ratings on IMDb, i just kept pushing it away. Let me tell you i am really glad that i did see this film last night and am very impressed. The most striking feature of this movie is its Direction and Sound. Frank Flowers is a very talented director and i wonder why hasn't he got enough opportunities after this one. The Fact that movie was made in 2004 impresses me the most because of its very contemporary style and techniques. Movie is a plain Scam-thriller and goes about its job of presenting it in an extremely interesting way. The story line is quite simple but presented in a very slick way. You never feel that movie slows down at any point of time and its quite nicely stitched till the very end. Except for some average acting from lesser known actors (not Orlando bloom) in the movie, i cant find too many defects in the movie.

I am really looking forward to "Trespasser", the next from Frank.

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Poorly shot, badly edited.
drorz8 September 2007
I just so it on DVD now.

An OK script goes to waste on 'inspirational' camera shots which are copy-cat & sloppy. The editing is so bad, there's little point to discuss it. While some of the acting is decent, the accent of the local Caymenees is hard to understand some of the time, and harder still to believe it comes off real. Some plot-lines are meant to be connected in a clever way, but we have seen too much of this before, and some parts are so generic-made it's painful. There is no promise from this film - no new actors, nothing to carry this film even to be a has-been; it is a never-was.

Hopefully, we'll see no more work from the makers of Haven.
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Haven is one stylishly cool flick!
yougotherefast2 March 2006
I saw this when it was screened at the Toronto Film Festival, and thought that it was brilliant. The style of the film is original and beautiful. The dialogue was great, the characters, create, and the feeling of chaos and tragedy effective. It's really unfortunate that Flowers is having such trouble trying to distribute the film; it is a genuine indie gem.

With a great soundtrack, cinematography (absolutely brilliant), acting (big names too), and archetypal tragic theme, I am continually surprised that Haven hasn't been picked up by anyone. Though I haven't seen it in nearly two years, its beauty and surprisingly honest (un-hollywoodised) story and characters have stuck with me. If this movie goes unreleased and remains unseen, it will be a great loss.
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Entwined Lives on a Friday, 13th
claudio_carvalho17 November 2007
In Cayman Island, the daughter of a powerful man - Andrea (Zoe Saldana) - and the fisherman Shy (Orlando Bloom) are in a deep but secret love, hidden from Andrea's parents. When Andrea's father sails in a fish-trip, they have a night of love at Andrea's home; however they sleep and are surprised by the arrival of her family in the morning. Later, Andrea's brother Hammer (Anthony Mackie) throws acid on the face of Shy and spends four months in prison. In Miami, the dirty businessman Carl Ridley (Bill Paxton) is chased by Federal agents and escapes with his teenage daughter Pippa (Agnes Bruckner) to Cayman Island trying to reach his lawyer Mr. Allen (Stephen Dillane). Pippa meets the small time thief Fritz (Victor Rasuk) sleeping in her room and he invites her to go a party. Before leaving the condo, Fritz sees Carl counting lots of money. Fritz owes money to the dangerous drug dealer Richie Rich (Razaaq Adoti) and tells him about the fortune Carl has. Along a Friday 13th night, their lives entwine in a chain of tragic events.

"Haven" is an entertaining movie, with a complex non-linear screenplay with many characters that have their lives entwined. There are many credible sub-plots and considering the running time of 99 minutes, the situations and characters are very well-developed. The direction and acting are great, there are many beautiful locations but the screenplay is really top-notch. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Haven"
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-- Gratuitous Multilinearity --
andrewjohnwallace14 September 2004
A very different movie than any other...the closest thing you can compare it to is Tarentino's "Pulp Fiction" but only because of it's multi-linear story.

The cinematography rocked. The acting was superb. The sound went unnoticed, so good work guys! But...

Usually in a movie like this, the multi-linear loose ends will cleverly tie together in the end showing why these particular characters were being followed. But it never did this. Bill Paxton and Orlando Blooms timelines ran almost totally autonomous from one another; crossing paths but never changing the outcome of the other. It was merely a gimmick. The first rule of film making...everything has to have a GOOD reason.
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csl65622 September 2008
I have to say, I just saw this movie for the first time last night, and I think it portrayed the Cayman Islands as some drug infested little island. I am a descendant of the island and I am appalled to see that is how the island is being represented. Everyone in the movie spoke with a Jamaican accent and used phrases that are only used by Jamaicans. I cannot believe the Cayman people allowed this movie to be made and degrade this beautiful island where tourist goes to with their families for vacations. If I did not know better this would not be anywhere I'd want to go. Everywhere has drugs and crime, but this movie suggested that everywhere you go on the island that's all there is, the partying and the drugs and the killings. This Island is more than that and those who live there and depend on the tourist to survive should remember that. I vote this a ZERO.

A Cayman Island Descendant.
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Pulp Fiction goes to the islands
mrisman12 September 2004
I saw this film at the world premiere last night at the Toronto Film Festival. It was a crime drama told in the non-linear style made famous by Tarantino. What really made this movie stand out from like-themed movies, was it's setting in the Cayman Islands. The culture of the Caymans is evident in every shot, every frame, and it give an entirely fresh perspective on subjects we've visited before.

Frank E. Flowers does a fantastic job of keeping the story coherent as we alternate between two timelines, set four months apart. The acting is strong and the entire film has a distinctive atmosphere.

The crowd seemed to love it, but then again, the entire cast was present and the audience was quite excited (especially by Orlando Bloom). Still, a very good movie. It seemed like it may have been a little long, perhaps ten minutes or so, but that really came from trying to establish the Caymanian culture, so it's understandable.
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A Caymanian Dream Come True
taylorburrowes12 July 2005
It doesn't seem fair to compare this movie to any other, as it is clearly a fresh and original screenplay, meticulously weaved together by a brilliant and inspired first time feature film director. The challenge of bringing to the surface an unexposed culture, with a story that translates yet does not adulterate its personification, is an overwhelming and arduous feat. Frankie Flowers digs deep within his own personal and cultural experience to articulate an artistic and purposeful message. This message is more than the descriptives of its plot, but a personal exclamation of pride, ambition, and poetic communication of a representation of life known only to a select few, but understood by even less. His effort to communicate this to himself, his compatriots, and his audience speaks loudly, and reveres as much attention and intrigue as his characters command emotional participation and vulnerability.
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Interesting, and very well done
brontes9929 January 2005
I was lucky enough to be able to see Haven in the Toronto film festival earlier this year. Considering it wasn't a highly anticipated film, I did not go in with high expectations, but came out extremely pleased.

The cast was very well selected, with an outstanding job by Orlando bloom, Victor Rasuk, Anthony Mackie and Zoe Saldana. The plot was well written, and even though it wasn't the most uplifting of films, it left an impression and I was pleasantly surprised.

Cheers to Frank E flowers, on a great job and an impressive second film.

********* 9/10
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Haven and Hell!
Dr-RJP28 January 2007
What started out as a promising drama with Bill Paxton leading the way, mysteriously disappeared and was replaced with a tedious bunch of nonsense. It was as if they were trying to set the Guiness Book of Records for how many times the "F" word can be said, in an island accent, in a film.

Imagine a cross between a commercial for Parrot Bay Rum and the worst Gangsta film ever made. That's "Haven." This film proves that Hollywood mainstream producers do not hold a corner on garbage film-making.

This film, along with "The Night Listener," rank as two of my Bottom Ten worst films in the last five years.

Do yourself a favor and pass on this one.
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Chasing Stories in the Haven of Grand Cayman
gradyharp15 January 2007
Frank E. Flowers is a newcomer to the cinema scene and his early outing HAVEN shows both the flaws and strengths of early work. Seemingly under the influence of the current successful trend of movies with multiple stories that are shot in cross sequence to show enigmatic interrelationships (BABEL, TRAFFIC, CRASH, THE HOURS, etc), Flowers attempts to tie together big crime drama with intimate love story and the result, at this stage of film-making, is disjointed and aching for a good film editor. There are moments - but they require patience on the part of the viewer to stay with the film to the strange ending.

The big crime idea is placed in the hands of Bill Paxton who with his daughter (Agnes Bruckner of DREAMLAND) takes his 'off shore money' from Miami to Grand Cayman island under the tutelage of smarmy lawyer Stephen Dillane. An island character (Victor Rasuk - a very promising young find from RAISING VICTOR VARGAS, LORDS OF DOGTOWN) begins to put the play on Bruckner, a factor that involves him as an islander in the big crime syndicate from the US. Bump. Next story involves Orlando Bloom as a listless wanderer in love with an island beauty (Zoe Saldana) whose family objects to the liaison. The brother (Anthony Mackie - who continues to find depth in roles in films like BROTHER TO BROTHER, HALF NELSON, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE etc) rages after Bloom, scarring him for life. The interplay within each story is well enough focused but the apparent compare-and-contrast motive of weaving these two disparate yet core-similar stories together is a problem for Flowers.

The cast is a mixed bag, with some superb actors along side some wannabes. And oddly the top actors (such as Bobby Cannavale) are placed in less important roles than some of the lesser experienced ones. The film is pretty to look at, has its moments, and shows promise, but it is not one to place on the 'must see' list. Grady Harp
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Frustrating and violent Romeo & Juliet-ish story set in the Cayman Islands
juneebuggy18 October 2014
This is one of those movies that makes me mad because I had to struggle through it and then was left with a non-ending. It's a Romeo & Juliet-ish story following a young fisherman (Orlando Bloom) and the daughter(Zoe Saldana) of a powerful island family, who fall in love much to the displeasure of the girls brother.

It's an okay drama that ends up being very frustrating as I have no idea what happened to anyone, it just ends with no resolution. Does Shy get his girl? Does he get caught? Does he die fishing on Friday the 13th? What about Bill Paxton, did he get away with the loot? Did his daughter stay on Cayman?

Anyways. I had been curious to see this since it takes place in the Cayman Islands and I lived there for 4 years. This version of CI however is very different to my experiences while there. It was fun to see some familiar sights but I never did see any Caymanians just Jamaicans and other ex-pats playing the part. I also had a hard time believing these characters were in high-school. Red Sail sports is transformed into a fishing charter. 09.13
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Edited in a Cuisenart
marc-26228 September 2006
I knew that I was in trouble when, in the first few minutes of the film -- as Orlando Bloom embraced his lover in the sea -- the boom mic came into frame twice. The entire film appeared to be one long gimmick. The flashbacks were completely unnecessary. Some characters enter the film and then exit with no motivation or wrap up. Some of the dialog was completely laughable (in the press screening I went to some people DID laugh -- out loud and often). Characters were introduced, forgotten for an hour, and then reintroduced with little to tie things together. The criminals in this film have got to rank with the most idiotic in cinema. They could not find their behinds with both hands. Get Orlando Bloom back in elf ears or his pirate costume -- QUICK! Haven has rushed to nearly the top of my list of the worst films of 2006.
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Everything in life is about mistakes
Arien_Kartheiser31 January 2008
Who you trust, who you love, who you hurt, sometimes you just don't get it, but one act can change many lives.

This movie was for me part of my "must see" list, I'm not gonna lie I'm an Orlando Bloom fan, and I was pretty sure he's a handsome guy, but until this movie I started thinking that he'll be a great actor one day, His Shy, half innocence, half Romeo, so angry, so sad, was amazing, all the range of emotions that an actor would need and that tights, bow and arrows kinda hide, all I'm saying is give the kid few years and will see a real actor behind the heartthrob act.

Zoe's character made me wonder if good, cute girls are really happy, so broken and hopeless, her brother was the perfect tough guy from the suburbs, a bad guy wanting to play with big guys being just a spoiled brat. Anthony Mackie killed me I wanted to slap him every time he was on screen

there was another story on all this, more obvious if you're watching, corruption and deceive, Dillane and Paxton are as usual, not only believable but real.

I have to mention Lee Ingleby, his Patrick is my favorite, in one second he stole my heart when he leans over, So much love in just a gesture and so much fear.

The lesson at the end: people, even good people can be cruel. there's something for every one, a complete roller-coaster of emotions and a carnival of characters that I'm sure you'll enjoy. They drag you out of the couch and make you feel and live this.

warning here, sometimes things happen too fast on this movie and you'll get a better impression after two views, so don't think this is bad because is a little complicated.
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Haven update
britcay-119 September 2006
Having seen both the original in Toronto two years ago at the Toronto Film Festival, I must say that the original was by far the better version to the one that I saw yesterday whilst traveling. The attempt to juxtaposition flashbacks in the Zalman King mode was not as good in the final cut.

The part of Frtiz was well cast. I look forward to seeing this excellent actor again.

Also, the fact that Orlando cleans boats is not clear. When he finds the gun, it looks like he is almost a burglar as opposed to a legitimate cleaner.

Maybe the DVD will have another version and other features to let viewers judge for themselves.

Morristown Fan
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Third-Rate....it's "Degrassi High" with a dash of "Miami Vice"
ptoogo27 September 2006
I don't think all the jumpy, hopscotch-style editing in the world can save Haven". Although in my humble opinion, there was really bad editing of this movie.

I thought the acting was good, but the writing was so weak that I found that I did not give a damn about the characters. I think Mr. Flowers must be a real "likable" guy....lots of actor friends willing to help him with this less than interesting story.

I'll bet whoever is running the Cayman Islands travel bureau is wondering if their beautiful little island can withstand this little thriller....showing lots of drugs and offensive language. I found the language to be offensive and unnecessary. I am sure that many of the religious folks in Cayman are still jerking nervously from this movie.
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A must see
lynn_boo9 May 2018
Love between these two were hard to resist. I liked this movie.
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