Five Minutes of Heaven – DVD Review

One of the beauties of Liam Neeson, it seems, is that he’s such a versatile actor that he seems at ease in both the Hollywood blockbuster and on the independent circuit. As the cinematic version of The A-Team gets ready to be a summer blockbuster with Neeson being the highest profile actor in it, and Chloe still in theatres, Neeson’s first venture on the independent circuit in 2010 had a “blink and you miss it” jaunt into theatres in Five Minutes of Heaven.

Joe (James Nesbitt) watched his brother get shot to death as a young child. Alistair (Neeson) killed him as a misguided youth. Decades later, the two are put together as part of a television show on reconciliation. Alistair wants some measure of peace in his life, haunted by the memories of a single action that has never left his mind. Joe, on the other hand, is waiting for his one moment of revenge for an act that ruined his family and left him scarred inside.

The film follows the two on the day of the television show’s taping as they go through the gamut of emotions. Following the two separately, the film’s final act begins when the two meet for the first time under different circumstances then he ever imagined. But what Oliver Hirschbiegel does is interesting; it’s all about delaying the meeting and ratcheting up tension.

Previously behind the helm at the highly underrated Downfall, Hirschbiegel has a definite story about the power of forgiveness he wants to tell. But it isn’t a traditional one, with people weeping and becoming friends afterwords. This is about two men looking for something conclusive to the proceedings that have happened and they both know it.

For Allistair, it’s a chance at letting his victim take a load off and see that he’s become a decent human being. For Joe, its revenge at the man he proceeds to have ruined his life. For us, it’s just a great film.

Presented in a Dolby Digital surround with a widescreen presentation, the film looks and sounds terrific. This isn’t an a/v spectacle, and thus doesn’t really stand out from a transfer standpoint.

Behind The Scenes is a quick five minute piece about the film that’s mainly an EPK piece for the IFC.

The film’s Trailer is included as well.

Five Minutes of Heaven on DVD is a great film without a whole lot added to it in terms of extras, but is worth at least a rental.

MPI Home Video presents Five Minutes of Heaven. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. Starring Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt. Written by Guy Hibbert. Running time 90 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: 4.27.2010. Available at

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