Heaven

Heaven

3.0 out of 53.0 out of 53.0 out of 53.0 out of 5 3.0

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The tagline for Tom Tykwer’s latest could easily read: Kieślowski Lives! If Tykwer’s unofficial “blind chance” trilogy (Wintersleepers, Run Lola Run and The Princess and the Warrior) is as punishing as Kieślowski’s Trois couleurs triptych then Heaven brings to mind the late Polish director’s more somber years. Though less ambiguous than any of the Dekalog films, this first part of Kieślowski’s planned Divine Comedy trilogy is every bit as ambitious and riveting. This moral agitprop pits an angelic schoolteacher Philippa (Cate Blanchett) and her guardian angel Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi) against Turin’s corrupt carabinieri. Philippa kills four innocent people with a homemade bomb intended for the man responsible for pushing drugs on her husband and students. Tykwer evokes his tireless obsession with coincidence via a chillingly choreographed shot of Philippa walking away from the building where she’s planted her bomb. Heaven isn’t defined or burdened by such portraitures of happenstance; indeed, this may be the only scene in the film that directly fiddles with blind chance. Tykwer’s aesthetic has noticeably matured since last year’s riveting if not frivolous Princess and the Warrior. His solemn overheads suggest the presence of a higher being while a cutaway to a colossal clock’s many gears calls attention to the film’s moral mechanism. Kieślowski and Piesiewicz’s screenplay grapples with a woman’s responsibility to the world when no one will listen. Though devastated by the news that she destroyed innocent lives, Philippa will only accept punishment after drug lord Vendici (Stefano Santospago) accepts his. There’s no escaping the film’s divine moments. Once they’ve conquered the film’s virtual battleground, there’s only one place for the film’s Adam and Eve (see Blanchett and Ribisi’s shadowy sex scene) to go. The film begins inside a helicopter flight simulator and ends with the film’s star-crossed lovers slowly rising to Heaven aboard a real helicopter. Though Philippa’s final confrontation with Vendici evokes an angel delivering God’s judgement, Tykwer remains surprisingly non-judgmental. Heaven is a haunting dramatization of a couple’s moral ascension.

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DVD
Distributor
Miramax Films
Runtime
96 min
Rating
R
Year
1978
Director
Tom Tykwer
Screenwriter
Krzysztof Kieślowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Cast
Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Remo Girone, Stefania Rocca, Alessandro Sperduti, Mattia Sbragia, Alberto Di Stasio, Giovanni Vettorazzo, Gianfranco Barra, Vincenzo Ricotta, Mauro Marino