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HEAVEN

Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Stefania Rocca, Remo Girone, Alessandro Sperduti

Director: Tom Tykwer
Screenwriter: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Producer: Frederique Dumas-Zajdela,
Anthony Minghella Maria Koepf, Stefan Arndt, William Horberg

US: 04/10/02 UK: 09/08/02



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Cate Blanchett gets ready to enter heaven
****
This profoundly beautiful thriller is a strange hybrid, written by Polish filmmaking maestro Kieslowski (with his writing partner Piesiewicz) as the first episode in a Heaven, Hell and Purgatory trilogy, but passed on to German director Tykwer (Run Lola Run) after Kieslowski's sudden death in 1996, then filmed in Italy with Australian and American stars.

Set in Turin, the story centres on British schoolteacher Philippa (Blanchett), who in a moment of desperation plants a bomb in the office of a businessman (Santospago). In the aftermath, she is arrested and during interrogation her motives begin to become apparent, much to the frustration of the Carbinieri in charge (Sbragia). But she's befriended by her translator Filippo (Ribisi), who in a moment of selfless compassion offers to help her.

Tykwer's film is thoroughly artistic as it builds suspense without ever resorting to movie cliches or action formula. Everything is subtle and understated, especially the way he creates unbearable tension in the set pieces simply by letting us see what is at stake ... and then twisting the knife in! This is augmented by the internal-combustion of Blanchett and Ribisi, who create memorable characters who are so insular that when they actually begin softening toward each other it's a wonder to watch. And Kieslowski and Piesiewicz have crafted a fiercely intelligent script examining issues of trust, redemption and justice from extremely unpredictable perspectives.

Yes, it's perhaps a little too symbolic and meaningful, even in its tiny details and side characters. And it must be said that, for all of Tykwer's skill, it would have been even more exquisite under Kieslowski's direction. He is hugely missed, but it's nice to see his legacy continue here.


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