A widowed English schoolteacher living in Turin makes a fatally botched attempt to assassinate a drug dealer, but is quickly arrested. However, the young police translator present during her questioning (Ribisi) falls in love with her.
With the backing of several notable fans - Sydney Pollack, Anthony Minghella, Harvey Weinstein - the last screenplay by Krzysztof Kieslowski (Three Colours trilogy) reaches the screen intact.
Tom Tykwer bravely steps into the great director's shoes and for the most part is inspired, rather than overawed. The kineticism of Run Lola Run gives way to bold, often static, composition and strong colour reminiscent of the master himself. Kieslowski would doubtless also have approved of the liberal use of music by minimalist composer Arvo Part, and the casting of the regal Cate Blanchett.
As the first part of a planned trilogy, the couple-on-the-run conceit (think Badlands in Tuscany) sometimes feels underwritten. The elusive Three Colours Blue eventually dovetailed beautifully into contrasting parts, but Heaven's under-motivated characters may remain too fragile for most tastes.
That said, for those who lament the passing of an irreplaceable talent, this stands as a fine memorial.
While not quite the Holy Grail Kieslowski fans might have wished for, this is a sensitive rendering of a unique vision by a very promising filmmaker.
Reviewed by Colin Kennedy