Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)

A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)
A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)

Genre: Drama / Thriller
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Julia Stiles, Peter Coyote
Duration: 90 min.
Rating: 6.3  

After a suspicious fatal car accident in Hastings where the identity of the victim was forged, the Quality Life insurance company sends their smart investigator Abe Holt to identify the body. The unique beneficiary of the one million dollars death benefit is the sister of the victim, Isold, who lives with her son Thor and her husband Fred in a poor cabin in the middle of nowhere. Along the investigation, Abe discloses the truth about the fraud, but feels sorry for Isold and Thor and tries to help them with tragic consequences.

A Little Trip to Heaven is a film directed by Baltasar Kormákur (Jar City).  It is an Icelandic/USA co-production, set in the United States but shot almost entirely in Iceland.  The film premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival.

An interesting if not brilliant effort from Icelandic director Kormákur who manages to impress with his trademark stark visual style but can't quite handle the intricacies of suspense and tension needed for a successful thriller.  It's difficult to pass off Icelandic landscapes for small town mid-west USA, so he doesn't even try.  Instead Kormákur uses the cold and barren vistas to build a hauntingly remote and desolate atmosphere, an effect that helps with the unique and mysterious nature of the film.

The acting was solid as can be expected from Forest Whitaker who plays the lead role of Abe, an insurance investigator assigned to the case of Isold (Julia Stiles) a young woman who is the beneficiary of her brother's million dollar life insurance policy.  She is married to Fred (Jeremy Renner) who is impressive as a menacing and threatening low life, and the scenes involving these 3 characters are all quite good.

The problem lies in a screenplay that lacks realism and is a jumbled mess so full of twists and turns and plot holes that makes this ultimately a flat and frustrating viewing experience.  A shame because this had the makings of a strong thriller.

A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)

A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)

A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)

A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)

A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)

A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)

A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)

A Little Trip to Heaven (2005)


FrontRoomCinema said...

I want to know why I have never heard of this film, even though it has one of my favourite actors in it....Renner, and one of my least favourite, Stiles!

I am intrigued by it now thanks BT

The Reel Foto said...

looks like a solid cast.

shutterbug said...

this movie doesn't thrill me! :P

Hermann Rorschach said...

Like D4 said, I didn't really think this was to be considered a thriller, but it's got Forrest Whitaker, so that should make it hard to resist.

Jack L said...

Whitaker and Renner would probably be enough to get me interested, but I doubt I'll see this one.
Nice review though!

d_4 said...

I saw this one a few years ago.. It was supposed to be a thriller? I had no idea, I mean I guess it had some moments, ish, but I wouldn't have guessed it aimed to be a thriller. It was entertaining at the moment but I don't want to go out and see it again.

Guy Movie Blogger said...

It's a shame to see a good thriller wasted by a script that bites off way more than it can chew.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I agree with you on Renner, but I haven't seen enough of Stile's films to dislike her. 

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah he always seems to deliver solid performances even in bad films

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks, I was hoping for more since I usually enjoy those two's performances, and also Kormakur's style, but it wasn't to be.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

It had the typical twists and turns usually associated with thrillers but you are right, not something I would watch again.

Hoi-Ming Ng said...

Messy eh?

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