out of five
: 97 mins
A woman's revenge on a drug dealer goes horribly wrong and she ends up on the run with the police translator she meets during her arrest. Tedious drama, from an unfilmed script by the late Kieslowski - beautiful to look at, but much too slow and uninvolving.
Heaven was originally conceived by the late director Krzysztof Kieslowski, as part of a Heaven, Hell, Purgatory trilogy to sit alongside his Three Colours trilogy. However, after his death, the script eventually passed to director Tom Twyker (Run, Lola, Run). Unfortunately, the finished film, though visually stunning, remains uninvolving and so doesn't quite emerge as the tribute it should have been.
Old Droopy Face
The plot starts well. Cate Blanchett stars as a schoolteacher who, in the exciting opening scene, attempts to assassinate a drug dealer who has been dealing to her children. However, her plan goes horribly wrong and she's quickly arrested, before escaping with the instantly smitten police translator, played by droopy-faced actor Giovanni Ribisi (from Friends and Gone In 60 Seconds).
From here the film goes downhill, as all the excitement and tension built up in the opening scenes completely disappears. The two leads shave their heads in order to 'disguise' themselves (were all the Movie Cliche Wig Emporiums closed?) and end up looking more and more alike. They hide out. For a really long time. And that's more or less it.
Fact-paced & inventive it is not
It seems odd that Twkyer's best-known film was the kinetic, fast-paced, inventive race-against-time movie Run, Lola, Run. Heaven could definitely have used some of its pacing - as it is, it looks as if Twyker is trying to prove that he can do slower paced films, honest, and has over-compensated as a result.
Having said that, the film looks fantastic throughout, courtesy of stunning photography by Frank Griebe. Similarly, the opening sequence is worth seeing, as is the impressive final scene. However, ultimately, the film is stultifyingly slow and disappointingly uninvolving. It also doesn't help that there is very little actual dialogue.
In short, Heaven is just about worth seeing as a curiosity piece and does at least have a couple of rewarding sequences. However, it's more likely that you'll emerge from the cinema wondering just how different it might have been had Kieslowski filmed it himself.