The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Haven

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Judy Thorburn

Haven

Las Vegas Tribune - http://www.lasvegastribune.com
Las Vegas Round The Clock
- http://www.lasvegasroundheclock.com

The Women Film Critics Circle - http://www.wfcc.wordpress.com
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
">
kreatia@
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"HAVEN" A SANCTUARY FOR LOSERS

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Haven originally had made its premiere at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival, but then disappeared, stuck on the shelves for two years. You can pretty much take that as a hint something wasn’t up to par from the get go. Now that Haven is in theatrical release I can see why there was reason to keep it locked up. Haven is not a good movie. Forget the hype about it being brought to audiences by the same people (that means producers, folks) behind Crash, last years best picture. No matter how hard it tries, Haven fails in an attempt to emulate the style and substance of either Crash or Traffic, for that matter. Both are powerful ensemble dramas that successfully deliver interconnecting storylines, unlike this wannabee film.

Screenwriter director Frank E. Flowers, making his feature film debut, is a native of the Cayman Islands and uses that location as the backdrop for his multiple plotlines. But one doesn’t get any sense of the Island beauty or local color through use of cinematography. In other words, there aren’t any picture postcard moments. Rather, Flowers portrays the Cayman Islands as a seedy place filled with shady characters such as gangsta thugs, drug dealers, loose women, and the perfect sanctuary for corrupt businessmen. Not exactly what I would call an island paradise, nor a place I would care to visit.

Bill Paxton is Carl Ridley, a Miami businessman involved in some money laundering scheme, who flees to the tax haven of the Cayman Islands with daughter Pippa (Agnes Bruckner) and a million bucks in tow after receiving a fax warning that the Feds are on their way. Once there, Pippa gets involved with a local lothario/con, Fritz (Victor Rasuk) who has ties to some thugs eager to grab Daddy’s stash of cash. That’s one plot angle, but the script takes a turn by suddenly moving on to a tale of forbidden love involving Orlando Bloom’s character Shy, a brooding fisherman and Andrea, from a rich Black family whose father and brother don’t want him near their virginal beauty and are quick to do him harm. Soon a vicious attack by Andrea’s angry brother leaves Shy facially disfigured, sending a motive for revenge to come into play.

The problems with Haven’s script, and there are many, begins with the flawed structure. Focusing on Ridley’s storyline for a lengthy set of time, it suddenly shifts to the ill-fated romance and eventually tries to interweave the characters and plots. The stories are told in non-linear fashion using flashbacks that pop up unexpectedly. Unfortunately, nothing seems to work and the result is a disjointed, muddled, bad edited mess. If that isn’t enough, at times the island accents are so incomprehensible that subtitles are needed to interpret what characters are saying.

The actor’s aren’t to blame, especially the underrated Bill Paxton who never delivers a bad performance. However, I can tell you there isn’t anyone worth caring about. I started getting interested in Ridley’s daughter Pippa, scenario about fitting into a strange and new environment, but then she was dropped like a hot potato until the finale.

Although flashbacks are used, no background is given in relation to the ill-fated lovebirds or some reason as to why Andrea’s brother (Anthony Mackie) and father have such disdain for Shy. It also makes no sense when, after Andrea is forbidden to see Shy, she turns into the latest town whore engaging in quickies with strangers and yet her brother has no problem with that, as long as she doesn’t have sex with the man she really loves. What kind of brotherly love is that?

In the end, everyone winds up a loser either as a result of greed, revenge or corruption. Personally, I didn’t get wrapped up in the mish mosh or give a hoot. The tagline for this dark and moody film is “can love survive the fall of paradise?” What paradise? Paradise is lost in Haven, as well as my interest.