Release Date: October 4, 2002
Release moved up from October 25, 2002
Limited release

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For foreign-film movie lovers such as myself, Heaven is one of the most exciting projects on the release schedule right now. The film is based on a script by the late Krzysztof Kieslowski, the creator of the legendary Three Colours Trilogy. He had planned to do another triad of movies using the titles of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, but his untimely demise looked to have ended the new series before it had started. His writing partner, Krzysztof Piesiewicz, then unexpectedly decided to carry the project forward without its co-creator. Director Tom Tykwer of Run Lola Run fame was chosen to bring his unique vision to the projects. While no one could be expected to helm Heaven with the skill and flair of Kieslowski, Tykwer's hiring has been hailed as a masterstroke, and the new trilogy will be launched to great expectations.

The choice of lead actors is equally intriguing, with Cate Blanchett, the bewitching star of Elizabeth, and Giovanni Ribisi, the scene-stealer from the spectacular cast of Saving Private Ryan, chosen to headline. The two showed tremendous chemistry together in their last joint project, The Gift, and both have received frequent awards consideration in their short careers. This title could afford one or both further accolades.

Blanchett portrays Philippa, a transplanted British woman working as a school teacher in Turin, Italy. She grows embittered as her friends and family, including her own husband, become drug addicts. She attempts to eliminate the source of their addiction, the local drug kingpin, by offering damning testimony against him to the police. Alas, the law enforcement officers are corrupt and receive a take of his illicit profits, so they shun her as she attempts to gain justice. With no legal recourse left, Philippa becomes a vigilante and creates a pipe bomb she plans to use on the criminals. Alas, her plan goes awry, and she finds herself incarcerated and completely alone, with nothing to live for. Just as she is ready to give up hope, she meets Officer Filippo (Ribisi). They are instantly smitten with one another, and he helps her escape. They become fugitives from the law, and find themselves on a journey of self-discovery.

While parts of the plot are admittedly somewhat clich├ęd, the story contains the usually complex layers of emotions we have come to expect from Kieslowski and Piesiewicz, combined with the tremendous visual style of Tykwer, as the newfound lovers deal with the conflicting desires of vengeance, lust, and drive for redemption. Placing good people in a corrupt environment might not be the most groundbreaking idea for a story, but when done well, it affords tremendous potential for character exploration. That plays right into the film creators' hands, and we may fully expect this film to be brilliant. (David Mumpower/BOP)

July 12, 2002
A film that was bumped from its March release date to late October, Heaven is now scheduled to open in the U.S. on the first weekend of October. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Heaven
Main Cast Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi
Supporting Cast Stefano Santospago, Remo Girone, Max Giusti, Alessandro Sperduti
Director Tom Tykwer
Screenwriter Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz
Distributor Miramax
Trailer http://www.movie-list.com/h/heaven.shtml
Official Site http://miramax.com/heaven/index.html
Rating R
Running Time 96 minutes
Screen Count 38
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Heaven
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Gift, The 1/19/013.46 3.69 805 4299.00 4413.1 11.95 12.75 3.44
Elizabeth 11/25/983.39 4.35 516 6570.00 8124.9 30.01 38.58 7.80
Ideal Husband, An 7/9/992.29 2.72 771 2970.00 3390.9 18.49 22.03 5.14



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