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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Heaven's Prisoners (1996)



Reviews and Comments

Heaven's Prisoners attempted to be a moody noir-like thriller. It gets the moody part right. This movie is all mood. Such time and care is put into getting the mood right -- pausing between lines, lingering on scenery -- that there isn't any time left to develop the characters or give the plot much more than a passing glance. It's 133 minutes long with minimal action. How could this movie not develop characters beyond the usual stereotypes?

The dialogue isn't paid much notice either. At one point a character actually says, "How come you have all this omniscient knowledge?" As for suspense, it's difficult to feel any when the characters keep doing improbable and purposeless things to try to build it. Toward the end, a wounded character hoists himself through a roof hatch four or five feet above him in the blink of an eye. Even later, a character makes a 911 phone call at gunpoint apparently just to make us wonder if the other guy will decide to shoot him or not. Yawn. This movie is silly and boring, and unfortunately there is more of the latter than the former.