The story of former UVF member Alistair Little. Twenty-five years after Little killed Joe Griffen's brother, the media arrange an auspicious meeting between the two.

Writer:

Guy Hibbert (screenplay)
9 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Ryder ... Young Alistair - 1975 (as Mark Davison)
Diarmuid Noyes ... Andy - 1975
Niamh Cusack ... Alistair's Mum - 1975
Mathew McElhinney ... Stuart - 1975
Conor MacNeill ... Dave - 1975
Paul Garrett ... Alistair's Dad - 1975
Kevin O'Neill Kevin O'Neill ... Young Joe - 1975
Gerard Jordan ... Jim - 1975
Paula McFetridge Paula McFetridge ... Joe's Mum - 1975
Gerry Doherty Gerry Doherty ... Joe's Dad - 1975
Luke O'Reilly Luke O'Reilly ... Brother Dan - 1975
Luke McEvoy Luke McEvoy ... Brother John - 1975
Aoibheann Biddle Aoibheann Biddle ... Sister 1 - 1975
Ruth Matthewson Ruth Matthewson ... Sister 2 - 1975
Carol Moore ... Susan - 1975
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Storyline

In February, 1975, in Northern Ireland, seventeen year-old UVF member Alistair Little kills the catholic Jimmy Griffin in his house in Lurgan in front of his younger brother Joe Griffin. Alistair is arrested and imprisoned for twelve years while Joe is blamed by his mother for not saving his brother. Thirty-three years later, a TV promotes the meeting of Alistair and Joe in a house in River Finn, expecting the truth and the reconciliation of the murderer and the victim who actually seeks five minutes of heaven. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

To face the future, they must face the past.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The little boy he delivers the note from Liam Neeson's character was named "Liam." See more »

Goofs

The car which takes Griffin to the shooting location changes color from black to silver and back. You can see this when they stop on the highway,and Griffin gets back in the car and closes the door the side of the car is silver. Also, the mirror of the car is silver when it should be black. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Alistair - 1975: [narrating] For me to talk about the man I have become, you need to know about the man I was. I was 14 when I joined the Tartan gangs, and I was 15 when I joined the UVF, the Ulster Volunteer Force. At that time, don't forget, there were riots on the streets every week; petrol bombs everyday, and that was just in our town. When you got home and switched on the TV, you could see what was happening in every other town as well, and it was like we were under siege. Fathers and brothers ...
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Connections

Features Thunderpants (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Holy Pictures
Written and Performed by David Holmes
Courtesy of Mercury Records Limited
Under license from Universal Music Operations
Published by Universal/Island Music Limited
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User Reviews

 
My five minutes of heaven, how can that not be good for me?
27 June 2009 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

An estimated 3720 people were killed as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

This film is a fiction inspired by two men who bear the legacy of one of those killings.......

That is the opening salvo from the makers of Five Minutes of Heaven, I would personally like to add, since no other reviewer here has said it thus far, that the two protagonists never met in real life.

Five Minutes of Heaven was first screened at the Sundance festival in 2009 and won awards for Directing {Oliver Hirschbiegel} and for screen writing {Guy Hibbert}. It stars Liam Neeson as Alistair Little and James Nesbitt as Joe Griffen. The story is about how a young wannabe hero of the Ulster Volunteer Force {Little} gunned down the brother of Joe Griffen {Nesbitt}, purely because he was of Catholic religion, all witnessed by young soccer ball kicking Joe out on the pavement in front of the Griffen house. After the build up and execution of the crime, we forward to the future after Little has served 12 years prison for the murder, and here we now have a television company led meeting between the two after the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

It's only now that the film really kicks in as a powerful piece that has something to say. Too many third rate productions caricature their characters in films involving the British/Irish troubles, but the makers here are keen to avoid that-hence the appearance of Neeson, who wouldn't have come cheap one feels. Both Nesbitt {ranking along side George Best as most talented thing to come out of Northern Ireland} and Neeson then shift gears to ram home the point of the story. This is about forgiveness, pertinent questions about if that is possible under the most trying of circumstances. Would you be able to move on? And at what cost? Both sides of the coin are deftly rubbed by Hirschbiegel and his terrific cast.

It would be stupid of me to not say the piece has problems since it clearly isn't perfect. Both sides of the families involved are not formed at all, and that is without a doubt a very big misstep. Probably a victim of course of the TV movie production value and the sadly inept running time afforded it. But that annoyance aside, and in the context of the final product.....well it works out rather well I feel. There's some smart points of reference in there, note the young Little handling his gun amongst a sea of childhood toys, while there's a dolly out shot involving a church that nails that particular scene with maximum poignancy. But really, as is normally the way in this type of production, it lives or dies by its ending, and the question is answered as to if the actors involved have involved us enough to actually carry it off?

We are OK here, because we got Nesbitt and Neeson, point made, acted accordingly, yep, see this if you can. 8/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | Ireland

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 2009 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Five Minutes of Heaven See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,364, 23 August 2009

Gross USA:

$15,676

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$364,355
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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