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Five Minutes of Heaven (2009)

Liam Neeson , James Nesbitt , Oliver Hirschbiegel  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (469 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt
  • Directors: Oliver Hirschbiegel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 2010
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (469 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003498SCQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,244 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Five Minutes of Heaven" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews


4 stars. Neeson and Nesbitt hammer it home. --David Fear, Time Out New York

Well performed and thought provoking...A new cinematic twist on a devastating period. --Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

Product Description

From the Oscar®-nominated director of DOWNFALL, the BAFTA-winning screenwriter of OMAGH and star Liam Neeson comes a startling new thriller inspired by true events: In 1975, 17-year-old Irish-Protestant Alistair Little assassinated 19-year-old Catholic Jim Griffin in his Ulster home. The murder was witnessed by Griffin s 11-year-old brother Joe. Thirty years later, Little (Neeson) has been rehabilitated and released from prison, while Joe Griffin (James Nesbitt of BLOODY SUNDAY and JECKYLL) remains traumatized and bitter. But when a television talk show decides to bring them together for a live on-air reconciliation, two men haunted by one moment must come face-to-face with their own worlds of pain, violence and vengeance. Anamaria Marinca of 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS & 2 DAYS co-stars in this must-see drama that dares to explore both sides of Northern Ireland s troubled past as it comes to terms with its still uncertain future.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
349 of 361 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth and Reconciliation January 19, 2010
When friend Vika (Anamaria Marinca) asks Joe Griffen (James Nesbitt), the brother of a man killed in 1975 by one Alistair Little (Liam Neeson), if killing Alistair would not be good for him, Joe replies ' Not good for me? My five minutes of heaven!' And so runs the razor sharp dialog and acting and power of this little film from the UK that relates the story of a 1975 event in Northern Ireland when Catholics and Protestants were at war and the young Protestant Alistair Little (Mark David), as a UVF member (Ulster Volunteer Force), gathers his friends and 'kills a Catholic' - but the murder happens in front of the victim's 11-year-old brother Joe Griffen. Flash forward to 2008 when Alistair Little (now Liam Neeson) has served his prison term and is set up by the media to relate the story of the incident and supposedly meet and shake hands on camera with the now mature Joe Griffen. It is a film about youthful involvement in terrorism and the sequelae that haunts or obsesses the victim's family and the perpetrator. The confrontation between Alistair and Joe is a devastating one.

Guy Hibbert wrote this excruciatingly visceral screenplay and Oliver Hirschbiegel directs a first rate cast. Though Liam Neeson is billed as the star, the film belongs to the powerful acting by James Nesbitt as the vengeful Joe Griffen. The cinematography is dark and dank like the atmosphere in both the warring fog of 1975 and the attempt at reconciliation in 2008. There are subtle pieces of thoughtful enhancement, such as the use of the Mozart 'Requiem' in the near hidden score. In all, this is a moving film about truth and reconciliation that deserves the attention of us all, especially in this time of random acts of terrorism and their possible imprint on our minds and on society. Grady Harp, January 10
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139 of 154 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars powerfully honest and transparent October 13, 2009
One of the best films I have seen on the struggle to reconcile with one's own self as well as one's enemy. There is no cheap forgiveness portrayed here. The acting by Neeson and Nebitt is unbelievably good and the directing is incredible. I couldn't believe that this was a made-for-tv film. Goes to show that on a shoe-string budget, BBC can produce stuff that is far superior to the drivel that comes out the mouth of Hollywood.
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126 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One people will watch 30 years from now January 23, 2010
A perfect movie is a rare thing. No committee can produce perfection; the too many cooks are never so present as during the production of a movie. I've seen a few, but not many. When 1 person does everything, there's one vision to be 1% short. But when tens or hundreds do it, then each contributes his individual failure until we're left wondering, as we do when watching some YouTube clip of kids riding their bikes off a roof, "Wow..what the **** were they thinking?" However, "Five Minutes of Heaven" comes darn close to perfection.

Two men collide, and then 33 years later collide again. Some serious sparks ensue. Who was right? Who lost the most? Who owes what to whom?

If you're reading these reviews, I'd advise you to stop now and get this film. This is fine film making with a pungent theme. Watch it for its powerful and beautiful tale of loss and recovery. Watch it for two great actors giving superlative performances. Watch it recreate a terrifying yet frightfully close world where hell was always around the corner and ever on the TV. And watch it for what it has to say about the problems, the not easily fixed challenges, we face in the world today....
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do NOT Give Up in Early Part--The Ending is Riveting April 26, 2010
Do NOT give up on this movie in the first third. I stayed with it because a very experienced global law enforcement officer with anti-terrorism experience told me the movie was worth seeing through to the end, and he was absolutely right.

This is a fine depiction of how gangs and religious and political conflicts get started, it is a superb depiction of the "collateral damage" that affects "bystanders" to the end of their days, and it ends absolutely brilliantly with a typically strong but never-the-less very moving closure by BOTH of the main actors.

Highly recommended to those who wish to think about cause and effect and the psychological dimensions of intra-community violence.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding August 9, 2010
Northern Ireland was plagued for some thirty years with "The Troubles," sectarian violence between Protestant and Catholics before the "Good Friday Agreement" of 1998. Nearly four thousand people died. This film is about this conflict; the introduction states it's a "fiction inspired by two men who bear the legacy of one of these killings."

The key event is the murder of a young Catholic man by a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force, a Protestant, pro-British group. There was "nothing personal" about the murder; it was part of "The Troubles." The killer was only fifteen when he joined the UVF. Thirty-three years later a film production team sets up a meeting between the killer (who served twelve years in prison) and the victim's brother. The brother was about twelve when he witnessed the murder and narrowly escaped death himself.

To say much more would be to spoil this outstanding film. Liam Neeson is solid as the adult killer. James Nesbit is excellent as the jittery, weak-willed, revenge-hungry adult brother. Anamaria Marinca almost steals the show in a small role as a gofer for the film production team to whom the brother confides his true feelings.

I must say this film may not be for everyone. Sometimes the pacing is very slow. Viewers may have a hard time accepting that the killer is projected as a stronger character than the victim's brother. And the bit about the mother of the victim's reaction to the killing stretches credibility.
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