Guest / Limited Access /
Five Minutes of Heaven
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
(not rated yet)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
Genre
Directed By
Oliver Hirschbiegel
Run Time
1 hour 29 minutes
Cast
Mark Ryder, Diarmuid Noyes, Niamh Cusack, Mathew McElhinney
Theatre Release
February 27, 2009 by IFC Films

The BBC-produced Five Minutes of Heaven is a drama in two parts. The first is historical, portraying an actual murder from 1975 in conflict-ridden Northern Ireland. The second part, which is the bulk of the film, jumps forward 33 years and gives a fictional account of what happens to two men still affected by that murder.

The 1975 sequence drops viewers into the midst of "the Troubles," the late 20th-century period of violence in and around Northern Ireland between Protestant unionists—wanting closer ties with Great Britain—and Catholic Irish nationalists. Five Minutes doesn't dwell on the religious aspect of this conflict. Still, the casting of the leads is symbolic, even if incidentally: James Nesbitt, a Protestant, plays a Catholic, and Liam Neeson, a Catholic, plays a Protestant.

After an opening montage of Troubles-related news footage, we step into the home of teenager Alistair Little. The camera roams through ordinary domesticity before finding Little upstairs. He might as well be getting ready for school, his turntable spinning as he gets dressed and leans toward the mirror to worry over a pimple.

But the blemish is soon well hidden, when Little pulls on a ski mask that evening to kill. The victim is a local Catholic, Jim Griffin. It's Little's first hit job as a recruit of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), which is at war with the Irish Republican Army (IRA). It's a moment of triumph for Little—for the time being.

Also at the scene of the crime is Jim's younger brother Joe, just a boy at the time. He happens to have a clear view of his brother Jim as he is shot, and it's a grisly sight. Little almost leaves without even noticing Joe, but when he does, their eyes lock—Joe cowering and Little cold. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueLara Casey
Subscriber Access Only
Lara Casey
The Southern Weddings editor-in-chief slows things down and pushes “purpose over perfection.”
Current IssueSajan George
Subscriber Access Only
Sajan George
His acclaimed education model employs technology and research to transform struggling schools.
TrendingWho’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
Who’s Who of Trump’s ‘Tremendous’ Faith Advisers
The Republican candidate finally names his campaign’s evangelical connections.
Editor's PickWhen Tithing Comes With a Money-Back Guarantee
When Tithing Comes With a Money-Back Guarantee
How did churches like NewSpring and Life.Church get thousands of Christians to start giving? By offering a refund if God isn't faithful.
Christianity Today
Five Minutes of Heaven
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

August 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.