Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Five Minutes of Heaven
Is it possible to reconcile with a man who causes tremendous lose and suffering?
Based on a true story, British film "Five Minutes of Heaven" (UK 2009 | 90 min.) exams two men's extraordinary journey to meet each other in hoping of seeking the truth, finding a closure, and reaching a reconciliation. Although the film is the winner of World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award and World Cinema Screenwriting Award at 2009 Sundance Film Festival, it also deserves to be awarded in acting categories for finely calibrated performances from lead actors Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt.
The story begins in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, in 1975 during the conflict between the IRA and the British government. 17-year-old Alistair Little (Mark David) becomes a foot soldier and kills a 19-year-old Catholic James Griffin, witnessed by James's 11-year-old brother Joe Griffin. This tragic incident has a lasting impact on the lives of both the killer Alistair and horrified Joe. Three decades later, through a social service program and documentary crew, Alistair (Liam Neeson) decides to meet Joe (James Nesbitt) for the first time after the killing to reconcile. The meeting becomes an intensely emotional ordeal for both grown men.
German director Oliver Hirschbiegel ("Downfall") masterfully creates incredible suspensions in each scene. It is both gripping and terrifying. Two great actors Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt give brilliant performances to reveal both characters' complex emotional struggles. It is quite operatic.
The film does not answer the question if or how two enemies can reconcile; it simply shows the fascinating development in the minds of these rich characters. That makes the film a human story regardless which side one stands during that period of unsettling British history.