Review by Steve Rhodes|
3 stars out of 4
German director Tom Tykwer in his first English language film -- it's actually
half in Italian -- proves once again, as he did in RUN LOLA RUN and THE PRINCESS
AND THE WARRIOR, that he knows how to mesmerize audiences. Working this time
from a script by Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Tykwer isn't in
as much control as he is when working from his own material. The result is that
HEAVEN isn't as a strong an offering as his last two pictures, but it is a
completely successful piece of filmmaking.
The two stars of the story, Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi, play characters
who at first seem quite different but end up literally looking like twins,
androgynous skinhead twins no less.
You may have heard that HEAVEN is about a bomber, which is true but misleading.
Philippa (Blanchett), a one-woman vigilante squad, is on a mission to kill an
Italian drug kingpin, but complications set in, so she ends up killing innocent
people and being viewed as a terrorist. The story, which is alternately more
complex and simpler than it seems, involves police cover-ups and a jail escape.
What is always clear is that Philippa feels tremendous guilt for her mistake,
and Filippo (Ribisi), an interpreter who helps her, risks everything for his
Filippo, a boyish man, looks like a cherub from heaven, which is one of many
references to the film's title. Another is Tykwer's propensity to point his
camera down from the heavens to view stunning scenes of the mortals below. The
key scene that shows the definitive reason for the title is an amazing, yet
straightforward sequence that will take your breath away.
Although he doesn't play the same time tricks that he did in his previous
pictures, Tykwer does make time slow down in HEAVEN without resorting to slow
motion. Maybe in another decade or so, some smart organizer will plan an entire
film festival of just Tykwer's works. If so, I'll be the first one in line to
HEAVEN runs 1:36. The film is in English and in Italian with English subtitles.
It is rated R for "a scene of sexuality" and would be acceptable for
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes