Directed by Tom Tykwer, starring Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi.
Having seen her husband and numerous pupils die from drug overdoses, English teacher Philippa (Blanchett) decides to take revenge on the Mr Big of Turin's smack trade. But after hiding a bomb inside his office, the plan goes haywire and four innocent people are killed. Arrested, she demands to give her interviews in English and a young carabinieri, Filippo (Ribisi), is brought in to translate for his superiors. As she recalls the events which led her to crime, Filippo begins to fall for Philippa and devises a scheme to help her escape.
The last script written by 'Three Colours...' creator Krzysztof Kieslowski before his death, 'Heaven' constantly stretches the boundaries of plausibility but somehow always manages to carry you along with it. Director Tykwer blurs the lines between genres, moving from thriller to drama, character study to love story, the gritty realism of the opening half beautifully giving way to the dreamy atmosphere as Philippa and Filippo merge into one. It's a classic example of where a look is as important as a line. Some of the most memorable scenes contain no dialogue, Tykwer content to let the simplest of shots - a couple sitting on a train, a walk through a field - sum up the most complex emotions.
But while the images are never less than sumptuous, it's hard not to wish that Tykwer didn't make the plot tighter. Filippo's willingness to risk everything seems to happen too abruptly, while the impact of an ingenious escape by the duo is undone by the fact that they manage to avoid a police shutdown of Turin and board a country train.
Compensating for such shortcomings however, are the performances of Ribisi and Blanchett. Looking like a young boy lost in a uniform, the American actor is excellent in a largely Italian-speaking role while Blanchett's detachment leaves you yearning for more about her character. Ultimately you live the mood rather than savour the story but Tykwer's cast is perfect at playing down scenes that could've been undone by big gestures.
'Heaven' works as both an arthouse film for a mainstream audience and a purer pleasure for the more demanding. But while the uneven nature of the plot is a letdown, you won't step back into your life without plenty of admiration for what Tykwer, Ribisi and Blanchett have achieved.