Eye For Film >> Movies >> A Little Trip To Heaven (2005) Film Review
When convicted conman Kelvin Anderson is killed in a car crash, his sister Isolde (Julia Stiles) is the sole benefactor of his $1million life insurance policy. But the firm’s investigator Abe Holt (Forest Whitaker) is not convinced this accident is as cut and dried as it seems - and his instincts are right.
His probe leads him to Isolde, her suspicious redneck hubby Fred McBride (Jeremy Renner) and their son Thor (Alfred Harmsworth). Her cuts and bruises hint to her other half’s violent tendancies, while their poverty shows how much they need the cash.
Director Baltasar Kormakur’s gripping thriller is inspired by classic noir - the cinematography is as bleak as the story and there is no neat happy ending. The landscape is isolated and barren - a bleak, weather-beaten place – and much of the movie is shot at night or on grey, dull days. The oppressive gloom is a vivid representation of our protagonists’ feelings.
But unlike classic noir, we have no femme fatale teasing our hero Holt. Isolde is a vulnerable, dowdy young woman - a million miles away from the likes of Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity. And while Holt is a likeable chap, he is not whiter than whiter - he lies, spies, impersonates cops and even breaks into homes during his investigation. But Forest Whitaker’s heartfelt performance keeps viewers on his side. He never comes across as a heartless loss adjuster looking to con people out of their claims. He is almost nervous, stutters when he lies and has an endearing, almost childlike innocence and trustworthiness than wins over viewers and Isolde. It’s easy to see why a man of such talent went on to bag an Oscar.
Jeremy Renner also shines as Fred. He creates a truly despicable but well-rounded character who has more depth than just cliched wife-beating hick from the sticks. A Little Trip To Heaven might not be as slick as other neo-noir, such as Se7en, but it has more than enough plot twists and turns to keep you engaged and entertained.Reviewed on: 02 Aug 2007
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