From the makers of Crash comes this electrifying thriller with an all-star cast. On the idyllic shores of the Cayman Islands, Shy (Bloom) and Andrea (Saldana) share a secret her parents can never know Â? they are in love. ... more »But a night of passion leads to their discovery and a devastating act of vengeance by Andrea's brother (Mackie). Meanwhile, a shady American businessman (Paxton) has fled with his daughter to the Islands to avoid federal prosecution, only to be drawn into a dangerous web of deceit. As lives intersect and truths are revealed, a chain reaction of violence is set in motion that will determine whether love can survive the fall of paradise.« less
"Not to be confused with the 2001 made-for-TV film of the same title.
Set in the beautiful Cayman Islands, `Haven' uses a narrative style which reminds us of such films as `Amores perros' or 'Traffic.' It has two stories connected to each other very loosely; one is about an American businessman Carl (Bill Paxton) who fled his Miami house because of the FBI's investigation, and has arrived at this sunny island hiding cash under his shirt, with his 18-year-old daughter Pippa (Agnes Bruckner) in tow. This story also involves one corrupt lawyer (Stephen Dillane) and one local small-time hood who pursues Pippa and invites her to the party at night, unbeknownst to her father.
The other is about a local boy Shy (Orlando Bloom), who falls in love with a girl named Andrea (Zoe Saldana), daughter of his employer. One day Shy spends a night with Andrea while her brother and father are away from home, and you know, they are not happy to see this man running away from her room next morning. Her overprotective father's disapproval of their relationship and her hot-tempered brother Hammer's anger results in much more serious consequences that affect the life of both Shy and Andrea.
(So it must be said that Orlando Bloom is not the star of the film; more correctly, he is the star of one story of `Haven.')
Director Frank E. Flowers, who grew up in the Cayman Island, makes good use of the locations - the sea, the beach, the streets and even the dialect. But he seems more interested in showing us the darker side of the islands which are, the film shows, rife with the crimes related to drug and other shady businesses. Even in this paradise people are easily attracted to cocaine and fast money, and if that is the primary purpose of making this film, he has surely achieved it.
But the way he presents these two stories needs more improvement. Repeated flashbacks in Carl's story (that also includes a secretary played by Joy Bryant) are likely to unnecessarily confuse the viewers, and probably I am not the only one who prefers a more traditional narrative to follow this kind of plot where we are more interested in what is going to happen than in what has already happened. Of course putting pieces of puzzle into the right places would be thrilling in films like `Pulp Fiction' or `Traffic,' where apparently jumbled order of sequences will gradually form a web of characters and events in order to finally surprise us, but I just don't see the reason this narrative technique should be employed here.
I know it is well-intentioned, but I am not sure if the Romeo and Juliet-like love between Andrea and Shy is really relevant to the suggested image of `lost paradise' which is getting infested by crimes. The changes that happen to these lovers are too drastic for me to believe, making me ask myself: Does their forbidden love represent something, like, interracial discord on the island (if there is any, I mean)? Or something like a conflict between haves and have-nots? Sorry, but I could not find any answer.
`Haven' was on the shelf for two years, but it is not as bad as the delayed release date might imply. It has strong moments as both noir and love story, and generally well-acted. Though Orlando Bloom's fans will not like what happens to his character, I find his acting better than in the summer season blockbuster. But the best in the film is Bill Paxton and Stephen Dillane, to whom the film solely belongs in the last 15 minutes.
`Haven' has one social message at its core and two fairly interesting tales to tell, and also its beautiful scenery to show. But its lost innocence theme and melodramatic love story could have been better with another way of telling them, more straightforward narrative."
Good Film From Such A Young Director/Writer
B. Merritt | WWW.FILMREVIEWSTEW.COM, Pacific Grove, California | 01/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Nonlinear storytelling has become fairly common for cinema, but HAVEN adds a few more levels. Most notable is the wonderful acting and great script. It isn't excellent or mind-blowing, but entertainment-wise it certainly draws one in.
Orlando Bloom (LORD OF THE RINGS) stars as Shy, a young man given that name when he witnessed his father bludgeoned to death and then didn't speak for years. Now grown into a somewhat respectable young fellow, he lives on a small Caribbean island where he works as a boat cleaner.
Intersecting with his life is that of Andrea (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST), a beautiful native islander who's family is fairly-well moneyed and protects her as if she were a princess. When they discover that Shy and Andrea are secret lovers, they immediately attack Shy, leaving him facially scarred.
Carl Ridley (Bill Paxton, TWISTER) and his daughter Pippa (Agnes Buckner, THE IRIS EFFECT) just celebrated Pippa's 18th birthday. But all is wrong with their world. Carl has some shady business dealings and the treasury department is hot on his heels, thus forcing them to leave their Florida home and flee to the Caribbean.
All of these people's lives are destined to intersect in interesting and often deadly ways. But the beginning of the film is actually the end, and the end just the beginning. We're introduced to this fact about 3/4 of the way through the movie as we start witnessing similar events but seen in more detail or through another character's viewpoint.
The film is really about love and all the terrible things that can result because of this strange emotion. Whether it's young love, the love of a father for his daughter, the love of money, or forbidden love (i.e., closet gay), Haven takes us deep into the terrible ties that bind love to all of us.
Well acted and with a writer/director only 27 years of age, this is a moderately impressive first look at Frank E. Flowers' film-making abilities."
O my God. That has to be the best movie I've seen in a long
A. Gant | Michigan | 03/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What is wrong with all the people leaving these bad reviews. I'm not a big fan of any of the cast members in the film and was not expecting much after all of the critisizm that I have been hearing about the movie. It was a very pleasant surprise to see that this movie was FANTASTIC!!!!!
It's to bad that it did not make it to the masses. It really deserves a ton of awards. I am a big movie going and love the big special effects and all that jazz, but this movie didn't need any of that. It had me captivated from beginning to end. I stood up on my couch at the end and applauded the ending. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fantastic!!!!!!!!!
O my God!!!!! Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
A little gem of a movie
Dancer | München | 02/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes it's hard to understand why - or why not - films are released. This one, shot in 2004, I believe, hasn't seen the big screen so far, it was only shown at some festivals. Which is a pity, as it shows an ensemble of fantastic actors in a gripping story. It's worth seeing this one. Bill Paxton as a not quite so legal business man is great, and so is Orlando Bloom, portraying here a shy boy with a soft heart. Zoe Saldana as his sweetheart is good, too. Unlike many movies this one isn't shallow - no marshmallow rosy days, no all dreams come true, but cruelsome sometimes, touching and very moving."
B. Chartier | Green Bay, WI USA | 03/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Solid performances by Bill Paxton, Orlando Bloom and Zoe Saldana. This movie gives you a glimpse of Paradise you don't see very often. It's also nice to see Orlando Bloom in a film other than a period piece and playing a character that's not necessarily a good guy all the time."