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Movie Review: Heaven

Story: What makes a film great? Of course the obvious answer includes the usual components of story, acting, directing, cinematography and editing. But then there is that intangible quality that separates the good films from the great ones. And this film has it all! It somehow transcends the usual film going experience - and I was wowed!

Essential background stuff:

The late, great, Polish, serial director/writer Krzysztof Kieslowski (filmography below) had just begun his first of a trilogy of films, Heaven - the other two were to be Hell and Purgatory when he died in 1996. His longtime collaborator Krzysztof Piesiewicz helped pick his successor in order to finish the film. German director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) did honor to the late director's vision with his wonderful adaptation of the film.

Story: An English schoolteacher, in an act of revenge that goes terribly wrong, is captured and interrogated. Her eventual escape becomes a thriller-love story with overtones of religious symbolism, fate, repentance and redemption (some of my favorite themes). I don't want to tell you much of what happens but trust me when I say this is a gem of a film and worth your time and money.

Acting: Cate Blanchett is a marvel. She chooses her parts carefully and is simply wonderful in this film. Giovanni Ribisi, who also stared with Blanchett in The Gift holds his own with this very talented actress. There is not much dialogue in this film so the actors have to exhibit an inner intelligence to make this film work - and they do.

Critters: Livestock

Food: Bottled water and some champagne.

Visual Art: The Italian landscape was breathtaking. I admit to being strongly influenced by the Italian vista and some of the scenes reminded me of my own paintings.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: Heavenly.

Opening Titles: A beautiful intro to the film.

Theater Audience: Fairly crowded for an early afternoon show. Some applauded when it was over.

Quirky Meter: 4

Predictability Level: The film was so great I let it take me for a glorious ride.

Tissue Usage: None.

Oscar Worthy: Absolutely.

Nit Picking: Not one nit to pick.

Big Screen or Rental: Definitely the big screen. For some of Krzysztof Kieslowski's other films you could rent: The incredible trilogy, White, Red, Blue, The Double Life of Veronique, Decalogue 1: I Am the Lord Thy God, Decalogue 2: Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord Thy God in Vain, Decalogue 3: Honor the Sabbath Day, Decalogue 4: Honor Thy Father And Mother, Decalogue 5: Thou Shalt Not Kill, Decalogue 6: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, Decalogue 7: Thou Shalt Not Steal, Decalogue 8: Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness, Decalogue 9: Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife, Decalogue 10: Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Goods

Length: 90 wonderful minutes.