Movie Review – Heaven (2002)

A deeply ambivalent thriller, or, how can you love a woman who murders five people, 4 absolutely innocent and 1 presumably guilty of poisoning kids with drugs?

The script is based on the work of the late Krzysztof Kieslowski and I adore his genius. His Blue-White-Red trilogy will go down the film history as one of the greatest trilogies ever produced.

However, I don’t know what to make of this morality tale that isn’t. It tries to metamorphose into a redemption story but it ends up sending a bloody murderer and a hothead with social conscience to heaven. But Kieslowski’s magic name was enough to have Sydney Pollack to step forward to executive produce it.

Obviously Cate Blanchett is flawless as ever in the lead role, Philippa. Give this woman a newspaper to read and she’ll still be nominated for Oscar.

Giovanni Ribisi, as the Carabinieri (Italian motorized cop) Filipo is equally hypnotic. However we have no idea why Filipo is suddenly turned on by the arrested and self-admitted murderer of two children to such an extent that he throws away everything he has to the winds and goes down the tube with her. His motivations for doing what he is doing are not convincing at all.

Having said that, director Tom Tykwer is obviously an artist of considerable talent. That one scene in which the two silhouetted lovers make love under a magnificent silhouetted tree and against the burning evening sky is a singular delight to savor. The beauty of the Italian countryside is another eye candy that the viewers are generously rewarded with.

If only we were also provided with a consistent ethical resolution at the end… Instead we are left with a lingering and unresolved question about the morality of indiscriminate killing to redress an injustice and the role of love and romance within that troublesome context.

Ugur Akinci is a writer with 20 years of experience. Visit his web site for more information.

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