More Like Hell

by Alan Rapp on September 29, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Haven
  • IMDB: link

haven-posterHaven is like watching a mediocre movie on cable television and switching the channel to a different mediocre movie every 30 minutes and occasionally going back to see if the others have gotten any better.  Well, it’s not quite that good.

The film begins with the story of successful business man Carl Ridley (Bill Paxton) and his teenage daughter Pippa (Agnes Bruckner), who flee the country to the Cayman Islands to avoid prosecution.  Carl has laundered money from some illegal activity (the film never explains what this was, or the limit to Carl’s involvement).

Once in the Islands, Pippa (what an awful name) rebels and hangs out with a local wannabe gangster (Victor Rasuk) who steals a car, takes her to a party, gets her high and then arrested.

Click  The filmmakers then change the channel and give us a completely different, and almost totally unrelated story about a local fisherman named Shy (Orlando Bloom) who is in love with Andrea (Zoe Saldana), the 18 year-old daughter of his boss.  Shy and Andrea consummate their relationship which creates a war between Andrea’s brother Hammer (Anthony Mackie) and Shy with Andrea and Shy’s relationship being among the casualties.

Click  Mr. Allen (Stephen Dillane) is a lawyer in the Cayman Islands who helps launder money.  He’s got a wife (Serena Scott Thomas) and gay son (Lee Ingleby).  His major client is Carl Ridley, who is pulling most of his money from his investments at the wrong time for Allen who just lost everything when some of the Cayman Island banks were closed down.  He’s also got an incompetent secretary (Joy Bryant) who’s sleeping with his client.

The stories only connect in minor ways and we leave a story for so long we actually forget about that part of the film.  The performances are well acted and you can tell the actors chose the film because there are roles here for them to sink their teeth into.  Sadly the structure of the film destroys any continuity or ability of the audience to care, or in some cases even follow, the convoluted structure and plot of the film.

Haven is just a mess.  The disconnected stories seem spliced together from different films and would be no more or less out of place if you sliced them into another Caribbean film at random.  It feels incomplete, and is full of amateur filmmaking mistakes, poorly shot scenes, and a lack of any reason to care about what is being shown.  The only reason the film scores at all on my scale at all is the fine performances from the cast, which are all wasted in this preposterous waste of time and money.

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