15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2007
Unlike some of the other reviewers I thought this was a great movie. The scenery was beautiful, acting excellent and I can't believe the number of people who didn't understand the story. It was fully revealed who the real Calvin was and in the end he tells his sister who actually died in the crash. It was revealed early on that he wasn't really her husband. As as for Frederick, look closely at the gravestone scene and the name on it. The insurance agent may have been protecting the agency's interest in the beginning but how he breaks from that and what he does for Thor is shear martyrdom. I highly recommend it but guess I must warn you to closely watch for all the clues.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2007
Forest Whitaker gives a powerful but understated performance in this strange twisted tale of family loyalty, greed and murder. Characters are deeply realized, plot is rock solid, and the directing is superb. Loved it.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2007
While I didn't hate this film, I didn't really love it either. It had an interesting plot, although sometimes it seemed hard to follow. I did think that Forrest Whitaker and Julia Stiles did good work in this film, but for some reason the plot never really got off the ground and the final resolution just defied belief and not just because of where Whitaker's character ended up. The wrap up was definately NOT in line with the psychological make up of the husband. He would not have done that. No how. No way. It wasn't in him. And Abe (Whitaker) - Maybe think of something unusual like, oh I don't know, how about calling the police when it involves a police matter. Despite the flaws though, I thought it was pretty well acted and a pretty interesting piece of work. This was not one of the best films I have ever seen, but if you like kind of off-beat, atmospheric movies this might be to your taste. Definately worth a try if you have a hard time picking out a rental
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"A Little Trip To Heaven" has actually been on my "to see" list for a couple of years now. I love noir and this film seemed like something that would be right up my alley. With Forest Whitaker, Julia Stiles, Peter Coyote and the indispensable Jeremy Renner, I expected a heavenly tale of deception and intrigue. But while many of the plot elements were in place to provide an intriguing story, there is an awkwardness to "A Little Trip To Heaven" that derails some of the film's better elements. The initial scenes in which a fatal car accident is staged are crisp and alive--but soon the tension gives way to artifice and unbelievability. I firmly feel that a solidly plotted thriller is somewhere to be found, but it just isn't realized in the final screenplay or in the completed film.
Forest Whitaker plays an insurance investigator sent to evaluate a death claim from the previously mentioned accident. It's out to the country where the lawmen, naturally, are rubes. As any insurance agent is want to do--Whitaker decides to spend an extended amount of time in town, interview and insinuate himself into the lives of all those involved, and solve a little murder or two by traipsing around the desolate landscape as some sort of unquestioned authority. Heck, this is rural America--these country folk don't know any better! Renner, at least, provides appropriate menace as a prime suspect of wrongdoing. But the film steers into seriously unnecessary territory as some sort of romantic bond inexplicably forms between Whitaker and Stiles (who is as unlikable and as culpable as anyone in the film, but the filmmakers want us to view as a sympathetic heroine). It's all very awkward.
Part of the underlying awkwardness of "A Little Trip To Heaven" is that it is clearly set on foreign soil (Iceland to be exact) subbing for rural America. This, in and of itself, might not be a problem--but when you're also loaded up with international actors doing over-the-top American accents, the language in this screenplay tends to become stilted. With stellar talent like Phylidda Law and Anne Reid unconvincing in even bit roles (these great ladies play a school marm and a diner waitress in throw-away scenes), you know you've got a problem. Add Whitaker, doing an accent from who knows where, and the film starts to get pretty messy. Some have indicated that the film is difficult to follow--not so. It's bigger mysteries just tend to push the boundaries of logic and believability. I so wanted this to be a neo-noir treat--but it's a mystifying misfire. Renner is worth that second star, though. KGHarris, 9/10.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2013
You just need to overlook the fact that it was filmed in Iceland while trying to appear to be Minnesota in the winter...in 1985. The volcanic lava sand gave it away, btw. I dont think they have that in Minnesota...the director is Icelandic. Good story, good dialog, good acting. Forest Whitaker as the insurance adjuster is terrific. Jeremy Renner plays a harsh, bit crazy and oddly charming character... And, Julia Stiles is terrific and intense. You will have to watch the movie to find out how the worlds of these people collide.
on August 19, 2011
The most disappointing part with A Little Trip to Heaven is *easily* that it never improves past the car accident in the beginning of the movie. When a mans car breaks down during a rainstorm, he's forced to pull to the side and get a ride from a stranger. As soon as he gets inside the car, the driver apparently had a death wish and drove the car directly into the side of a bridge. A *very* good segment that was!! After that, you're probably expecting more excitement in the same style, but much to my surprise (and dismay) instead you get a VERY mediocre mystery drama.
Forest Whitaker plays the role of an investigator assigned to figure out the mysterious clues pertaining to this accident, however instead what happens is that Forest's character visits a family who has ties to the accident, and... the storyline settles into this groove of a slow-moving family and their fairly ordinary life and normal everyday problems. Being an investigator, Forest sure didn't seem to be in any hurry to get the facts!
I love Forest's accent. I suppose he was trying to imitate an Icelandic accent, but it ended up sounding more like a nerd who's late for geology class.
This movie is downright *boring*. I don't know what else to say about it. Eventually -without spoiling what exactly happens- we realize there's a scam taking place involving insurance, and the family (consisting of a man, woman and child) aren't what they appear to be. Again, I can't spoil who they are and how they relate to the car accident in the beginning- all I can say is that it takes an eternity for the storyline to finally get to that point. Seriously, you have to wait until at LEAST 70% of the way through to find out what's going on.
Overall, I refuse to recommend anyone see such a disappointing detective movie.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2013
I enjoyed this movie, there was not enough Jeremy Renner...but is there ever??? Lol. It was a quirky movie with little twists, but was really easy to follow. The stars all did a great job, and the ending was pretty good.
on February 16, 2011
Forest Whitaker is one of the most diverse, brave and fascinating actors we will ever see.
Unlike more famous, if not as popular actors like John Wayne, Mel Gibson and even one of my favorites, Clint Eastwood; no one in movies has played a greater variety of fascinatingly oddball and complex characters so well.
Even the "Last King of Scotland", for which Mr. Whitaker earned a long overdue Oscar, did not present the acting challenge this grim and complex little gem presented.
This is a morality tale that's high on great ensemble acting, deep and profound ethical and moral considerations. And Julia Stiles at the top of her considerable acting game. This movie will keep you engrossed from its surprising start to stunning finish.
Peter Coyote's brief but memorable performance reminds you of the Konstantin Stanislavsky (the inventor of the famous Stanislavsky Method) quote, "There are no small parts, only small actors."
I finally decide to get my own copy so I wouldn't be at the mercy of a cable movie schedule with no appreciation of what a fascinating little gem movie is.
Jeremy Renner finally got his Oscar for "the Hurt Locker." But he showed those acting chops way back when this movie debuted
One of these days, Julia Stiles and Peter Coyote will be similarly rewarded, I'm sure!
This is a beautiful little piece of noir that makes me think of some of the really great 1940s films. We have a beautiful unappreciated woman, a dark controlling family member, an insurance investigator.... sound familiar?
But tho the plot may resonate, this is a very original and beautifully done little film. Of course, with such incredible acting talent, what would one expect?
After a brief scene that introduces the insurance men to us, the film gives us a scene filled with a brutal murder and set up for an insurance scam. As the insurance investigator comes to town to see if the one million dollar payout is justified, we meet people that may or may not be who they say they are. And how perfectly this plays out for us.
We especially enjoyed the little tribute to traditional noir films. You know how sometimes we find the hero in a club with a beautiful chanteuse who may or may not be involved? In this film, the club and the club employee are a bit more realistic. We enjoyed the reference.
I recommend this movie without reservation to anyone who enjoys good acting, thriller plotting, and an unexpected ending.
on March 14, 2009
This was an intriguing, although not satisfying,, movie and one I still felt was worth my few bucks I paid to rent it.
It was filmed in Iceland - one of the few films I've heard of with that locale - but the story in the film takes place somewhere in Midwestern America. I knew that going in, so it made it kind of strange to view, in that respect. However, the story seemed very realistic. In parts, it almost felt like a documentary, it was so real and atmospheric.
However, as much as I enjoyed the movie, and particularly Forest Whitaker with his odd accent, the ending was a big disappointment. The film had so much promise up until then. With a more satisfying ending, I would have bought the DVD and watched it several more times
Some people say this film had the feel of a Coen Brothers movie, and I agree with that. To some, this might also have been a bit slow or boring but I thought it had unique atmosphere to it.