The Silver Screen
Covering the past, present, and future of motion pictures, this blog is a record of one film-buff's viewing experiences, opinions, and recommendations...
Friday, February 11, 2005
Heaven - (2002, Italy)
Spokane International Film Festival (Day 8) - The final film of the SIFF brought out another near-sellout crowd. I can't say enough how impressed I have been with both the films and the festival itself. Kudos all around!

Again there was no short film to lead us off, which was mildly disappointing... But I guess they only got a limited number of them or something.

Tonight's film, Heaven, was written by Krzysztof Kieslowski (director/scribe of the Blue, White, Red trilogy) just before his death in 1996. It was intended to be the first of a Heaven, purgatory, Hell trilogy. As a tribute, Tom Tykwer took over and made the film starring Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi.

The film opens powerfully with a woman (Blanchett) placing an explosive device in a office building with a executive as the target. However, a cleaning lady accidentally removes the device while taking out the trash and the bomb ends up going off in an elevator killing the cleaning lady, a father, and two little girls. Blanchett is arrested and swears that the exec she targeted was the head of a drug ring and she never meant to hurt anyone else.

Ribisi plays the interpreter that is assigned to translate her interrogation. He is young and impressionable and quickly falls for Blanchett, eventually helping her escape.

The trouble with a character-driven film such as this one is that it depends on you connecting with *at least* one of the characters, or even just find them interesting... Something I never did. I found Blanchett to be self-centered and, regardless of what her words say, without remorse. Rabisi, on the other hand, is naive and pathetic. He even wets the bed.

The film seems to want us to get so caught up in their romance that we are supposed to forget that Blanchett murdered four innocent people (including two children), for no more noble reason than revenge. She may say that she did it to protect her students, but I personally think that it has more to do with her ex-husband's fate.

It's difficult to be so harsh on a film that is filled with solid acting and breathtaking imagery... But sometimes you just don't buy it.

Rating: OK

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