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Heaven, Tom Tykwer (2002)

An unfortunate oil and water collaboration between Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, The Princess and the the Warrior), who directed, and Krzysztof Kieslowski, who wrote the script. Tykwer’s specialty is stylish romanticism, Kieslowski’s is stony morality tales, and the movie is a confusing collision of the two. An English teacher living in Italy (Cate Blanchett) seeks to avenge the deaths of her junkie husband and her drug-addicted students by murdering a drug lord, but she accidentally kills four innocent bystanders instead. That’s a classic Kieslowski setup; it could be a story from the Decalogue. But then the Tykwer vibe takes over: a manchild police officer falls in love with Blanchett, engineers her escape from custody, and then the two of them go wandering around the stunning sunburnt hills of Umbria like a couple of drunken angels, staring into each others’ eyes, getting matching haircuts, and generally acting ineffable and dreamy. These scenes are lovely to watch–I’d be happy watching Cate Blanchett do her laundry–but they feel totally disconnected from the moral problems of Kieslowski’s story. I’m not opposed to dreamy romances–I will confess that I loved The Princess and the Warrior, maudlin as it was–but this one’s too inconsistent to get properly lost in.

1 Comment so far

  1. Don

    I notice from the NY Times review that this “was to be was to be the first part of a trilogy conceived by Kieslowski on heaven, hell and purgatory.” It looks as if mortality was on his mind towards the end of his life. I wonder if there’s other material which would add to a posthumous career for Kieslowski.

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