Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Next in Top Ten

Okay, we've reached the letter "H." H is for:

Heaven, 2002, Written by Krzysztof Kieslowkski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz ; Directed by Tom Tykwer.

First of all, I have to say that the plot synopsis I link to at The All Movie Guide is not particularly descriptive of the movie in my opinion, and the review is negative and pretty wrong-headed. I will certainly agree that reviews of Heaven were generally mixed when it came out and that the movie is perhaps flawed in some ways. Having said that, Heaven is the most beautiful film I have ever seen from a sensory point of view. The score (and at times silence) is simple but gorgeous and the cinematography and lighting are immense in every way.

Criticism generally comes in discussing the story, but I think the story is more complex than many give it credit for. Basically, Philippa (Cate Blanchett) bombs a building hoping to kill the drug dealer that she believe is responsible for her husband's death; instead she kills four innocent people. The first half of the film centers around her interrogation by the Italian police. During the interrogation, her translator Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi) falls in love with her. He helps her escape, and the 2nd half of the movie follows their flight.

A couple of things stand out. Some of the reviews I've read assume Philippa loves Filippo (she tells his father this). But in a superbly acted scene, it seems clear to me that Philippa's feelings are not so straight-forward. Does she love Filippo in a certain way? Yes, but not in the way he loves her. The merging of the characters (Philippa/Filippo) into one is fascinating--they shave their heads, dress the same, and become sort of androgynous twins. When they finally make love in silhoutte it's almost impossible to tell them apart. Finally, the ending, to me, is mind-blowing. Many attempts at symbol or metaphor are either too obscure to be worthwhile or too obvious to be meaningful. But Heaven's ending is simple in execution and the metaphor is clear, yet the actual facts of the ending are far from clear.


Post a Comment

<< Home