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Heaven Reviews

Page 1 of 27

Super Reviewer

April 19, 2014
Philippa: I don't want to escape punishment. I've killed four innocent people and I want to answer for that, but before I do, I want to kill him.

"What Would You Risk For Love?"

Heaven is a tough film to figure out for me. It's unique for sure, with major events happening at times you wouldn't expect them to. I never was able to fall in love with it, although I did thoroughly enjoy the whole film. It's wonderfully shot, the score is fantastic, and Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi are bother terrific. 

A woman, Philippa, is a teacher living in Italy who recently lost her husband to a drug overdose. She gets fed up with law enforcement's lack of care her information about the drug dealer whose pushing large amount of drugs. So she decides to kill him. She tries to kill him with a bomb, but things don't go as planned and four innocent people die, while the drug kingpin still lives. To complicate things more, she is detained for the bombing. 

This isn't a movie that really appeals to me too much, but I was able to find  quite a bit I liked and was able to take away from the film. I don't believe this to be a masterpiece or anything like that, but it is worth a viewing. If only for Care Blanchett, it deserves a look. 
Red L

Super Reviewer

March 25, 2013
Philippa is in a hopeless situation. The drug dealers who have supplied drugs to her husband and students are supported by the Italian police who are questioning her. All seems lost until an young innocent translator helps her accomplish her goal.

Super Reviewer

September 10, 2009
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Remo Girone, Stefania Rocca, Alessandro Sperduti, Mattia Sbragia, Stefano Santospago, Alberto Di Stasio, Giovanni Vettorazzo, Gianfranco Barra, Mauro Marino

Director: Tom Tykwer

Summary: Deeply disappointed by law enforcement's lax investigation following her husband's drug-related death, Philippa Paccard (Cate Blanchett) takes the law into her own hands and ends up imprisoned in this moody romantic drama from director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run). Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi), a police officer involved with Philippa's questioning, falls in love with her and helps her escape, as they flee together to the Tuscan countryside.

My Thoughts: "The film has a beautiful back drop. The concept was interesting but failed to succeed in delivering a great thriller. Since there is little character development, you don't develop enough emotions for these character's to really care what happens. I wasn't convinced of the romance between Philppa and Flippo. I didn't see the right kind of chemistry brewing for them to make me believe they could be in love. When Flippo's father asks Philippa if she loves his son, I was so certain she would say no. But besides the lack of chemistry, there was a lack of action. I get the quiet thriller aspect of it, but there could have been a little bit more going on to keep the interest. It's a slow burning, but visually beautiful thriller that some will have the patience for where other's will try to stay awake to finish it. But as usual, Cate and Giovanni give stellar performances."

Super Reviewer

January 18, 2009
Blanchett and Ribisi have an uneasy chemistry that seems to work within the context of the story. An odd sort of film with texture and forgivable deficiencies.

Super Reviewer

March 5, 2007
Fantastic drama, mesmerizing performances and tight direction keep this film running in high gear.
This is one of Cate Blanchett's most under-rated pieces of work. Not only stunning in it's visual and directing effects, but it has a screenplay that is hard to beat. Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi have perfect chemistry and the intense storyline is there from the beginning.
Lady D

Super Reviewer

April 20, 2007
This Itlian speaking film (with a small amount of English speaking) is a little slow moving, but has a very interesting story. Cate Blanchett of course (as always) is brilliant, pairing with Giovanni Ribisi once again, who also gave a great performance.

Ironically there is a sense of freedom found in them being fugitives and the spark between them (in other circumstances) would probably not have ignited
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2007
A curious movie with some interesting credits that it fails to quite live up to. It's not lively enough to be enjoyed as escapist entertainment, but it's too simplistic and far-fetched to resonate on any deeper level. Though there's no great chemistry between the two leads, it still works best as an offbeat romance. The characters are severely underdeveloped; Stefania Rocca, for one, is completely wasted.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

August 13, 2007
Marketing this must have been a nightmare. It's awfully risky to put Cate Blanchett slinging bombs around in the first ten minutes of your movie and follow it up with another eighty of sad, ethereal drama; that's a hell of a tonal mismatch. Those expecting either a riotous thriller or a larger-than-life romance are going to be sorely disappointed.

Heaven's main function, which it pulls off flawlessly, is as a character piece with an emotional backbone. The pared-down plot acts as a playground for Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi (who is excellent here, by the way) to emote and react; with two lesser actors, this movie would have been excruciating. It's a testament to Blanchett and Ribisi's abilities that they are able to carry the human angle of this movie so competently. Take the interrogation scene. When Phillipa Paccard begins to cry at some unexpected news, Blanchett's acting is so absurdly good that you find yourself caring for this woman that you've seen in action for about two total minutes. And when Filipo touches her hand...something magic happens, right there, that the entire movie hinges on. It may not work for some people, which is kind of a shame. But it worked for me.

Heaven is inert as a thriller, but that's not its goal. The poster shown here is maddening because there's one explosion and two helicopters in the entire movie. The movie's priority is to get you to feel what these people feel, and it does it in the wrapping paper of a drug-related thriller. It's just a love story in a strange package and no one seems to understand that. The term "love story" in itself is misleading, because Phillipa is so tormented that it's hard to imagine that she loves Filipo - she really just needs him. There's something distant and transient about their relationship, like the little white things you see floating in the air sometimes.

When you add that emotional approach to the rich filming and the simple piano score, you have a movie that doesn't stop poking your Swoon button. Heaven is a perfect title for this movie, not only for its quality, but also for its atmosphere.

Highly recommended, but know what you're getting yourself into.
vieras e

Super Reviewer

June 29, 2007
Wonderful camera work.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

September 21, 2014
Well, there's "Heaven isn't too far away!", or, "I'm findin' it hard to believe we're in Heaven!", or, "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens!". Wow, and that was only the beginning of the many, many references I could make to a song titled "Heaven", although the familiarity in this film doesn't exactly end there, because we're talking about yet another Tom Tykwer thriller about a woman kicking some butt in the name of her male other, or rather, "Run Philipa Run"... named after Cate Blanchett's character in this film, for the record. Speaking of which, it's Blanchett reuniting with Giovanni Ribisi in a film that has something of a supernatural and very generic title, so this may be mistaken as "The Gift 2"... to, you know, that guy who remembers "The Gift". Man, Giovanni Ribisi is an awesome actor, as well he should be if he's going to be working with Cate Blanchett in at least two movies, but he can't really catch a break, not with these forgotten films as vehicles for revelatory performances. I just love seeing Ribisi really embrace his Italian heritage, and seeing the irony in Ribisi's being a Scientologist in something called "Heaven", which is... sacrilegious... I think. Okay, this film isn't really about Heaven, but don't get too excited about seeing something as cool as "Run Lola Run" either, kids, because this was to be the first part in an ultimately incomplete trilogy written by Krzysztof Kieślowski and Piesiewicz, and the last trilogy those guys penned was the "Three Colors Trilogy". Well, sure enough, this film is mightily misguided, though mostly in the scripting, not necessarily, say, the music and cinematography.

Well, the film is so flat that neither its soundtrack nor Frank Griebe's cinematography is allowed to truly thrive, with a mostly unoriginal score being particularly underplayed in this largely quiet affair, which, upon either utilizing pieces by such minimalist classical virtuosos as Arvo Pärt, Marius Ruhland and Tom Tykwer himself, or finding striking, maybe even immersive highlights in visual style, is rather haunting. There are technically beautiful aspects in the film, and if they do find an opportunity to thrive, then it is provided by Tom Tykwer, who, as director, takes an intensely subtle approach that, because of the shortcomings in material, is more tedious than anything, but is almost piercing when it does, in fact, find a dramatic height to draw upon. Something about this film is reflective of Tykwer's capabilities as a dramatic storyteller, because if there is any shred of effectiveness in this drama, then it is encompassed in Tykwer's tasteful, if often tedious subtlety, which seems to have its heart set on salvaging some degree of life from this story. The telling of this tale is so misguided that the story's value is all but obscured, while its great deal of conceptual thinness goes fiercely stressed, but there is something to admire in this subject matter, and it's not in the melodramatic and minimalist plot, or in the thin and barely buyable characterization, but in worthy themes that explore upholding justice in the most brutal of manners, confronting terrible mistakes, and doing right by the heart when what you once believed in has its image besmirched. These are all human themes in a developmentally flimsy character piece, and if there are sold, then it is either in the aforementioned highlights in Tywker's thoughtful storytelling, or in a strong cast that has its standout moments, most of which are by the subtle and graceful Giovanni Ribisi who is surprisingly convincing with both an Italian accent and a sense change in views on justice, and by a beautiful Cate Blanchett, whose remarkable emotional range presents both piercing delicacy and devastating intensity in order to sell the Philippa character's passion, frustration and guilt. The tools to make a very powerful character study are there, and, outside of the consistently strong acting, they're all dulled down by some sort of artistic misguidance that only grows worse as things progress, but when there is, in fact, focus in the vision of this drama, it begets some degree of effectiveness. For a long time, the film is effective, and decent, and then there comes a point where the conceptual intrigue, tasteful artistry and direction, and inspired acting fail to truly pull through the issues, which grow clearer and clearer, but never actually abate.

Somewhat refreshing in its lack of certainly regarding whether it is to be a grounded drama or, as Paul Matwychuk of Canada's "Vue Weekly" perfectly put it, "arthouse hoakum", the film is rather conventional, on either extreme of the storytelling style spectrum it jars through, whether it be falling into the usual arthouse pseudo-abstractionism whose basic nature is tedious enough without the familiarity, or conforming to more accessible dramatics so deeply that it succumbs to histrionic, which gradually grow a little more prominent, until a romantic angle is forced in, made somewhat subtle only by the overt subtlety that defines and ultimately ruins this melodrama. Only so much ever truly sells in this film whose dramatic heights ride on the backs of questionable character motivations that one might be able to get a firmer grip on if it wasn't for the expository issues, which find characterization undercooked, like subtle shifts in focus whose transitions aren't fleshed out enough to feel truly organic in the context of plotting focus. The angles gradually begin to converge, thus, focal inconsistency is not as big of an issue as the underdevelopment that, as irony would have it, only continues to intensify as the plot progresses, taking twists and turns that seem to come in from out of the left field, barely, if at all motivated enough to be convincing, or able to sell a sense of rising action. There's a dreadfully cruel irony in Krzysztof Kieślowski's and Piesiewicz's script, because as the plot thickens in concept, the interpretive storytelling only grows thinner, although it's not as though the plot ever thickens to a tremendously juicy extent, for what histrionics there are go forced in as some desperate attempt at carrying this narrative beyond meticulous, ultimately thinly executed meditations on dialogue and minimalist set pieces that, while thematically important, mostly wield only so much substance, yet are still so aimless so often. The extremes in the meanderings might not so much be the fault of this unfocused story concept, as much as it might be the fault of Kieślowski's and Piesiewicz's exacerbating all of the aimlessness through monotonously draggy scripting that couples with the considerable thinness in expository depth in order to craft a seemingly brief runtime of under 100 minutes whose lack of direction results in a glacial pacing. Whether it be a deliberate exercise in artistic indulgence or whatever, this film is draggy something awful in its take on an already thin and questionable story, and that places a serious threat on the engagement value of this film that, well, could have easily been overpowered if it wasn't for the fact that much more often than not, the film is terribly boring, its stylistic heights being rare, and its thoughtful directorial effectiveness being even rarer, due to there being so little material for Tom Tykwer to draw upon with his meditative direction, which grows more and more tedious, and tries one's patience more and more, until the final product loses the last bit of spark that could have saved it. The film has potential, opening with an excessively meandering, but somewhat gripping hook, then leading into a body that, because of the thematic intrigue, dramatic heights and strong acting, is so decent for so long that the final product comes close to transcending mediocrity, but somewhere along the way, it just becomes near-impossible to forgive this misguided drama, whose shortage of true depth and resonance only grows greater with the artistic buffoonery of a script that files down patience about as much as it files down direction, and is accompanied by a tedious atmosphere, until the final product ever so slightly, but nonetheless decidedly succumbs to mediocrity, at best.

All in all, there are few tasteful highlights in the scoring, cinematography and direction to do some sort of justice to valuable human themes that best emulated through a respectable cast that Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi lead with sharpness, so there is a fair bit to admire here, almost to the point of maintaining decency that is ultimately lost somewhere along the onslaught of conventions, histrionics, narrative thinness, lack of expository and plot focus, and tedious atmospheric dryness that barely, but decidedly secures Tom Tykwer's "Heaven" as a sometimes promising, but ultimately flat, hopelessly misguided arthouse drama.

2.25/5 - Mediocre
Jeffrey M

Super Reviewer

July 6, 2012
Beautifully filmed, methodically paced, and acted with both depth and nuance, Heaven is perhaps best described as a post-modern drama and thriller, with a distinct art house/indie film vibe. Cate Blanchett is her usual brilliant self, and her quiet intensity is well matched by Giovanni Ribisi, in perhaps one of his most impressive roles. Their chemistry, and the amazing cinematography, keep the film consistently engaging. However, the script does have some shortcomings, especially in the third act, with an incoherent ending. Both characters aren't well developed enough to have us fully appreciate their motives, or their end game, which is distracting. In addition, the pacing of the film becomes uneven, especially towards the end, making it occasionally drag. But this is offset by what it does well, as well as some strong dialogue.

3.5/5 Stars

Super Reviewer

March 16, 2008
A hypnotic film with a compelling performance by Cate Blanchett. Giovanni Risbi is good as well, but I didn't buy their romance. I have no idea why Cate would love him. No chemistry and just all in all not enough to buy into their relationship.

It's actually a very weird movie, tonally. Loved the begining, but it kinda dragged towards the end. It started out 4.5 star worthy, dropped to 4 around three fourths into it, but I'll add another half star for the breathtaking ending. Heaven is lyrical film with spiritual depth disguised as a political thriller.

Super Reviewer

May 11, 2009
Directed by Tom Tykwer, Heaven was surely another more of Blanchett's great pieces of work. Visual it was stunning and the screenplay was hard to beat. Blanchett and Ribisi had a perfect chemistry and the storyline was there from the beginning, even though it started a little slow paced. The last half hour wasn't that dramatic as the first half, but it showed why, they were busy forming their connections. The concerned of being caught was there, but personally I was more interested in seeing them discover their love despite the stressful circumstance they were in. I was not familiar with Tykwer movies, but this one had all the elements of a basic thriller making it deep, uplifting and with unexpected twist.

Super Reviewer

October 15, 2008
'Heaven' Strives for Otherworldly Experience

Starts as an interesting, atypical, semi-thriller/semi-love story that turns into an escape film that doesn't know where to run. Pairs former co-stars completely different from their characters in The Gift, Giovanni Ribisi and Cate Blanchett, who makes the most stunning bald woman I've ever seen. Ultimately I've learned from this movie that if you're going to go on the lam, do it in Italy because A) the police are completely incompetent, and B) the scenery is gorgeous.

Super Reviewer

September 30, 2007
Built on a premise that promises so much more, there is no denying the fact that 'Heaven' is rather dull. It is understandable that direction involves more than just revealing the narrative, but here it is vague and sloppy. The film seems to be nothing over than a collection of arty shots with a slow moving camera, and after the fifth or sixth consecutively we do begin to wonder if there's any narrative at all. And these are a lot less effective or meaningful than the film-makers think they are, or wanted them to be. It tries to say so much through so few words, and ends up saying little at all. Still, Cate Blanchett is on top form in a moving performance, despite her character eduring some silly sequences but still making up for the ultimately ridiculous finale.
December 12, 2008
When Philippa's (Blanchett) plan to rid her community of a drug dealer goes horribly wrong, she finds herself in the hands of the authorities. During her interrogation, a young officer (Ribisi) realizes her has fallen in love with her. He risks everything to help.

Touching film - highly recommended.
December 11, 2008
A movie about doing as much as you can when facing many walls. Following your heart and gentle care. I loved the 2 characters, their struggle, and the choices they made. :)
November 7, 2008
Pretty good movie. I thought it would suck because it was in a different language, but some parts were English. Just have to make sure your not tired while your watching it because this movie had a lot of reading for you to do. The ending was good too.
June 30, 2008
Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi are unbeatable together; one of the best actor matches I've eve seen.
March 6, 2008
Beautiful rendering of Krystof Kieslowski's final script by 'Run, Lola, Run' director Tom Tykwer. Cate Blanchett is spot on as usual, and Giovanni Ribisi really shows his acting chops in this heartbreaking yet hopeful story of love and revenge.
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