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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Review's - Five Minutes Of Heaven

And once again the pattern continues for each new movie I see being better than the last this year. Its kind of funny how these kind of things keep popping up every now and again. Anyway, what we have here on our hand's is Five Minutes Of Heaven, a drama based around a true event which occurred during the Troubles. The films first act shows a reconstruction of the murder of Jim Griffin by Alisdair Little, to which his younger brother Joe was witness to. The film then revolves the two agreeing to meet after Little reforming to film a television documentary. Now, one of the most interesting things about the film is the fact that it is directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, an internationally acclaimed German director of film's such as Das Experiment and the Oscar-nominated Der Untergang. Despite being in what is quite clearly unfamiliar territory, this seems to be a return to form for Hirschbiegel after 2007's The Invasion flopped and was re-shot on request by Warner Bros by James McTiegue, most famous for V For Vendetta. The BBC have clearly understood that is a man of talent who is almost better left to his own devices and have as little interference as possible from studios. He keeps the direction tight and firmly grounded throughout and generally keeps the pacing going rather well. Also, he is quite clearly from this and Der Untergang an actor's director who knows how to conjure great performances from his actors and cater to their characters. Liam Neeson plays Little rather well, portraying a very much three-dimensional character with the neccessary human qualities. Despite being a former murderer, emotions of which Neeson successfully transplants and damn near makes one attempt to justify, he is a sad and lonely man on the path of redemption, as emphasised by the subtle movements made as Nesbitt's Joe Griffin is about to make his way into the room: he is quite clearly nervous and concerned as to how Griffin feels. And with regards to Nesbitt, while he certainly plays a more two-dimensional character who is more schitsophrenic than sane, he injects emotion into the character, making him seem as though he has extreme psychological complexes, and is still quite clearly a child, haunted by the witnessing of his elder brother's murder. As far as I am concerned, Five Minutes of Heaven is a strongly plotted drama which is tight and solid throughout, with great consistency. While not telling us anything new about the Troubles, I think that the best it does it create a great and very human drama. However, it is certainly not without it's flaws. My main issue, which really, really bothered me, was the fact that despite being quite obviously a human drama, it did not seem to be edited or shot with a proper balancing act in mind. They should have taken into account that the end product would end up being eighty-five minutes. They spend the first half-an-hour without the leads being involved. Not that it was much of a problem, I felt the young actor playing Little, Mark Davision, gave a solid performance. But later on as it progressed, seeing as how we spent about forty minutes in the house with the documentary crew leading up to their meeting, it was rather uneven. Tension was built up rather well, so we were on edge. However, I just felt with only fifteen minutes being left for the last act, it was rather uneven and rushed, and personally, it's one of the few cases that really could have benefitted from an extra ten-twenty minutes to create a legitimately believable character progression. Unfortunately, with this annoyance of a problem, it just seemed like a made-for-TV film, and yes, I did see it on TV, but it is being theatrically released in the same form, yet it just seems like a really rushed and poorly chopped piece so that it can fit inside a nine-o-clock time slot. Also, Anamaria Marinca's character was poorly written, underdeveloped and wholly underutilised dramatically, whenever this could quite clearly have been the neutral flare amongst the two leads, and it could have been a character utilised to a far greater extent, seeing as how Marinca is a perfectly competent actress in her own right. However, I must say that that is the end of my problem's with the film, because personally it did not stop me from enjoying it. Despite an obviously uneven story and an under-utilised and poorly developed character, the film is well directed by Hirschbiegel, hopefully setting him back on the right tracks, and there are two strong performances, particularly from Liam Neeson, which make this a very enjoyable film. Certainly the best thing that I have seen all year.

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - 7.6/10

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