Monday, 19 July 2010


Madman Entertainment
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD

Revenge may be sweet but it's also hollow. Joe Griffin (James Nesbitt) has allowed his thirst for vengeance to simultaneously sustain him whilst draining him of any enjoyment his life, which includes a wife and two young daughters, could provide. As an 11-year-old, Joe witnessed the murder of his older brother at the hands of an IRA guman and has been haunted ever since.

Killing the man who fired the gun and giving him “five minutes of heaven” has been the one thought keeping him going for 30 years. That man, Alistair Little (Liam Neeson), despite his polished appearance and work in counselling, has been similarly haunted. He served 12 years in prison for his crime but wants to acknowledge Griffin's pain in a more substantial manner. That's why he agrees to a face-to-face television interview with Griffin where the producers, while not saying so in as many words, are hoping for fireworks between the two men.

Despite the strong performances of both Neeson (a rare dramatic outing between Taken and The A-Team) and Nesbitt (proving he can do drama as well as comedy), Oliver Hirschbiegel's Five Minutes of Heaven feels more like a film version of a two man play than an actual film. There's a lot of talk – and monologuing – which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but when the two men finally meet it is both dramatic and anti-climactic. Then again, that could be the point: the idea and anticipation of vengeance is far more fulfilling than the act.

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