Five Minutes of Heaven (UK/Ireland, 2009)

five_minutes_of_heaven_ver4Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel. I’d watch almost anything with Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt, and at the moment, I’ll watch anything concerning Irish history or the Troubles in general. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite strike me as deeply as I feel it was trying to. This feels like more of an idea of a well done, insightful, personal story of the Irish conflict than an actual demonstration thereof. On paper, it’s solid gold. Liam Neeson coming to terms with his violent past as an angry IRA youth who killed James Nesbitt’s brother in front of him. Years later, after serving time and undergoing a genuine reformation, the killer is set to meet the victim’s brother on a tacky TV special. The TV crew definitely offers a critique on the notion of “Truth and Reconciliation” of major social problems, wars, crimes of humanity, etc, but what is the critique other than:”These guys are tacky”? This film could have used more of Liam Neeson’s character, getting to know him deeper and understanding his transformation more thoroughly. Most importantly, this film could have used more of the James Nesbitt of Bloody Sunday—sober, empathetic, and believable—and less of the manic, fast-joking, early Murphy’s Law Nesbitt. To me, this aspect of Nesbitt’s acting just barely works for his famous character Tommy Murphy, and when it’s transplanted into this particular¬†story—presumably to reach out to fans of the series—it sits awkwardly as some unassimilable element. Five Minutes of Heaven could be a fairly profound, touching comment on two people healing through a major national trauma. Instead it’s…not.

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One response to “Five Minutes of Heaven (UK/Ireland, 2009)

  1. Pingback: The Boxer (USA/Ireland, 1997) | Offhand Reviews·

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