Five Minutes of Heaven

Five Minutes of Heaven

Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Five Minutes of Heaven is a hypnotic drama about the power of forgiveness and the heavy weight of our pasts using the violent era of the mid 1970s in Northern Ireland as a prism through which to explore its heady themes.  Hirschbiegel, directing from a snappy, knowing script by Guy Hibbert, expertly portrays the gut-wrenching emotions and keeps the film from being a stylistic exercise.  Rather he perfectly captures deep, penetrating moments and encapsulates an era of violence in riveting detail.

Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt play two men talked into meeting for a television program.  Neeson was a young USF member who shot Nesbitt’s brother in cold blood in front of Nesbitt as a young child.   The tension of the film rises and abates expertly throughout.  First, with its introductory scene, we witness the violent incident in a near-perfect build up.  The tension slowly rises again as the meeting between the two men inches forward with unexpected results.  Will Nesbitt kill Neeson?  Is reconciliation possible?

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The Grey

The Grey

Joe Carnahan exploded onto the scene in 2002 with the dark cop thriller, Narc, and then went radio silent for about four years.  His follow up was the noisy and senseless Smokin’ Aces and followed up with the unnecessary and garish A-Team.  At this point, it was easy to write him off but Carnahan arrives back on the scene with the daring man vs. wilderness movie, The Grey.  Starring Liam Neeson as a roughneck at an oil drilling site, the film follows Neeson as he leads a small band of survivors after a plane crash to safety once it becomes clear that they are being hunted by a vicious pack of wolves.

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