7 March 2007 | oneloveall
Poorly executed thriller had promise
This somewhat awkward transition to American markets finds Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur a bit over his head with this little mystery. In effect, A Little Trip to Heaven plays a bit like the watered down, third-rate cousin of the thriller Insomnia (nothing spectacular to begin with), although here most potential intrigue is crushed by the deadening weight of a charisma-lacking direction. A talented trio of actors do help elevate the often lifeless direction, but the movie does take an even greater toll by employing Forest Whitaker in the misguided lead. A shame to be coming out on DVD so quickly after his triumphant academy win, Whitaker's questionable Canadian-esqe accent paired with the boring, underdeveloped character he is written here just proves too bland for lead role material. Co-stars Jeremy Renner and Julia Stiles do offer more inviting performances however.
Difficult as the actual lack of energy beaming off the screen may be, the film is not without it's subtle shade of merit. Beyond the b-grade artistry lies a filmmaker with a promising talent for composition, often showing his best, least obvious strength when setting up succeeding, more important shots. As well, the script might have seemed a lot more convincing when on paper (which would explain some of the big name interest), offering a humbly ambitious, localized little guessing game centering around insurance fraud. Sadly, the adaptation to screen just does not gel in any real compelling way, though the detail oriented plot should throw enough curve balls to keep mystery buffs afloat.