6.6/10
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53 user 85 critic

Five Minutes of Heaven (2009)

Trailer
1:27 | Trailer
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

Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt were born in the same town, Ballymena in Northern Ireland. See more »

Goofs

When Joe and Vika are smoking on the balcony, the scene cuts to show Alistair arriving. The camera shows the house from the front, and the balcony where Joe and Vika are smoking is visible, but they are not there, nor is Alistair's car shown coming up the driveway. 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

References The Way of the Dragon (1972) 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

 
Strong, simple, sometimes even slow, but never irrelevant, and some great acting
6 August 2012 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Five Minutes of Heaven (2009)

I have a confession--when the movie started I thought, okay, another pro-IRA movie with a heart. And it's not--it's a beautifully balanced movie about the personal horrors of the Northern Ireland bloodshed and the longterm aftermath as participants struggle to keep going.

The two main actors are both from Northern Ireland. Liam Neeson plays a Protestant who as a teenage killed a Catholic worker as part of the tit-for-tat violence of the time. James Nesbitt, a Roman Catholic, plays the brother of the man who was killed, and as a witness to the crime he holds a deep grudge about the murder. And in a key act of political insight, the actors were born on the opposite sides--Neeson was raised Catholic and Nesbitt raised Protestant.

The theme of the film is reconciliation in the mold of South African leader Nelson Mandela. The core of the movie is shot in a fancy Irish mansion where television crews are going to watch as the two men, mortal enemies decades before, make an effort to somehow move on, in public, on t.v.

How it goes is for you to see. The murder in the 1970s is fact, easy enough to believe, and the meeting of the men is fiction. Nesbitt is utterly terrific. You might think he's overacting (he is, of course, overacting) but it's appropriate, and gives this non-action film some intensity. Neeson is strong in his restraint and in the one main scene where he gives a well-written speech about how to understand these horrors he is also terrific.

The filming is extremely simple and in fact the whole scenario is relatively linear, even with all the flashbacks. There are some turns to the events by the last half hour, and in a way this is both the dramatic high and the disappointing low of the film (it resorts to somewhat corny and not quite smartly filmed sequences I won't elaborate). But overall the point is so strong and well meant it's hard to worry too much about whether it's a masterpiece.

It's not. It's sometimes slow, it says stuff we probably have absorbed pretty well by now, and it isn't very complex. But what it does do it does with compassion and conviction.


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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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