Five minutes of heaven

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title Five minutes of heaven
Original title Five minutes of heaven
Country of production United Kingdom ,
original language English
Publishing year 2009
length 89 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Oliver Hirschbiegel
script Guy Hibbert
production Eoin O'Callaghan ,
Stephen Wright
music Leo Abrahams ,
David Holmes
camera Ruairi O'Brien
cut Hans Funck

Five Minutes of Heaven is a British-Irish television film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel from 2009. It was released in German cinemas on June 17, 2010.


Lurgan , Northern Ireland , in 1975: the IRA and the UVF are at war, the city is divided into two camps. After a man is threatened with death by the IRA if he does not leave the city, the only 16-year-old UVF member Alistair Little shoots the slightly older Catholic Jim Griffin in order to take revenge for the threat. Only immediately after the crime - Alistair shoots Jim with three shots through the closed apartment window - Alistair notices that Jim's little brother Joe, who saw the crime at close range, is standing in front of the apartment. Since Alistair wears a stocking mask and doesn't know that Joe is Jim's brother, he lets him live.

33 years later, Alistair and Joe are in separate cars on their way to recording a TV show that is supposed to confront the two of them and ultimately reconcile. While Alistair has now become a respected man after a twelve-year prison sentence for the murder, who speaks out against terrorism in public and leads therapeutic seminars with violent people, Joe feels betrayed by the story: He, the victim, lives in modest circumstances with his wife and two little daughters. His parents and other siblings also died prematurely after Jim's death - from heart attacks and drugs. The mother blamed Joe for his brother's murder for life because he had not done anything about it.

While the director of the show hopes for a symbolic encounter, Joe plans to stab Alistair in order to get revenge. During short breaks in filming, he learns from the Russian assistant Vika that Alistair is actually a broken man who could never come to terms with the murder of Jim and the sight of young Joe. Joe fails to face Alistair with the camera at his back and stops filming. Alistair sees him drive away.

Alistair has not reconciled with his past and is now looking for contact with Joe. He drives to Lurgan and sends a letter to Joe that he is in town. Joe in turn lets him come to the now dilapidated house where Alistair committed the murder. There a bitter duel ensues between the two men, as a result of which they fall out of the window on the first floor. Injured and unable to continue fighting, Alistair Joe explains the reasons for the murder. First and foremost, he wanted to be respected as a man and to be recognized for the murder. Alistair asks Joe to consider him murdered so that they can both start new lives. Alistair is moving out of the area. Joe, in turn, attends a self-help seminar in which he realizes that his ultimate goal is to be a good father to his children. He bursts into tears. A short time later, Alistair receives a call from him in which Joe says that he has finished with him and hangs up. Alistair sinks down on the street and a short time later walks on, smiling with relief.


The main actors Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt shortly before filming started in January 2008 in Belfast

The film was shot in Belfast , Lurgan , Glenarm and Newtownards from May to June 2008 . Alistair's murder of Jim is based on real events, while events after 30 years are fictional. Both main actors met with the real role models of their roles before and after the film was shot.

Five Minutes of Heaven premiered on January 19, 2009 at the Sundance Film Festival , where it was awarded two prizes. The Irish premiere was on February 21, 2009 at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. The film had its TV premiere on BBC Two on April 5, 2009 and on BBC One Northern Ireland on April 13, 2009. The film is distributed worldwide via Pathé and was released in German cinemas on June 17, 2010. The title refers to the "five heavenly minutes" that Joe hopes to experience after and through the murder of Alistair.


Variety called Five Minutes of Heaven an intimate chamber play, with the acting performance of Neeson and Nesbitt in particular making the film a strong and touching story.

The Hollywood Reporter called the film a pompous drama that was very emotional and, due to the long speaking scenes, more reminiscent of a play.

Cinema criticized the film as a "awkwardly staged guilt-and-atonement drama that sometimes puts a strain on the viewer's patience".

The lexicon of international films wrote: “Political thrillers whose not exactly subtle elements of tension and action are irritating because they run counter to the political claim of the material; As a dramaturgical reflection of the fascination with violence, the sensational approach is definitely justified. "


  • 2009: Sundance Film Festival
    • Director's award for Oliver Hirschbiegel
    • World Cinema Screenwriting Award for Guy Hibbert
  • 2010: Royal Television Society Television Award in the category "Best Single Drama"
  • 2010: Irish Film and Television Award in the category “Best Single Drama / Drama Serial” for Eoin O'Callaghan

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for Five Minutes of Heaven . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , May 2010 (PDF; test number: 122 998 K).
  2. ^ Stars 'change sides' for Troubles film ., February 21, 2009.
  3. Craig McLean: Liam Neeson interview - on his role in 'Five Minutes of Heaven' ., March 30, 2009
  4. ^ "It's an intimate, essentially two-man chamber drama" ... "powerhouse performances by Liam Neeson and James Nesbit make this an intense, ultimately moving tale" Dennis Harvey: Sundance: Five Minutes of Heaven ., January 21, 2009 ( Memento from May 1, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  5. ^ "A turgid drama" ... "this highly emotional, very talky movie, which feels more like a play" Kirk Honeycutt: Film Review: Five Minutes of Heaven ( Memento of April 25, 2009 in the Internet Archive )., January 20, 2009.
  6. film review
  7. ^ Five Minutes of Heaven in the Lexicon of International Films Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used