"A Story of Forgiveness"
What You Need To Know:
FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN is gripping but does not have much of a storyline. Viewers see the torment the men live with, but they never really get to know them much as characters. The performances by Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt as the two men are excellent, however. There is plenty of foul language, mostly from the Joe character. The movie’s strong violence also merits a caution. Finally, though the story involves Protestants and Catholics and forgiveness is the theme of the movie’s premise, there are no positive references to God or Jesus.
(C, BB, LLL, VV, N, A, D, MM) Light Christian worldview of guilt and forgiveness with references to the conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, but no overt references to God or Jesus; 25 obscenities and five profanities; strong violent content includes man shot point blank in head with much blood, two men fight and wrestle with some blood and images of bodies lying in street after implied violent acts; no sex scenes; man appears only in his briefs; drinking of alcohol; smoking; and, religious/ethnic hatred, prejudice and revenge.
FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN is the story of an Irish Protestant man finally meeting up with a the brother of an Irish Catholic man he killed years ago while being a part of the conflict in Northern Ireland.
In 1975, 16-year-old Alistair assassinated 19-year-old Jim while Jim’s younger brother, Joe, watched. Cut to present time. A TV documentary company wants to bring Alistair and Joe together for the first time for an on-camera encounter. Alistair served a 12-year sentence for the killing. Now that he’s out, he’s become a public speaker and even leads 12-step groups to talk about hatred and anger management. Joe, however, has continued to harbor bitterness over his brother’s murder. Both men lead troubled lives, and Alistair is plagued by the guilt from the murder.
The moment for the two men to meet face-to-face arrives. Joe is intent on killing Alistair with a hidden dagger. At the last minute, however, Joe panics and leaves the interview without seeing Alistair.
Alistair finally arranges to meet Joe privately, which ends in a bloody fight.
“Five minutes of heaven” refers to the pleasure of revenge that Joe anticipates he will have by killing Alistair. Though he knows it will destroy him and his family, he still wants his five minutes. It also, in a more subtle way, refers to the glory that Alistair received for the murder from his friends. The movie is satisfying in the end, with both men discovering freedom through forgiveness. Despite this, there is no discussion of God or Jesus, or references to prayer or church.
FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN is based loosely on two actual men, though they never had a face-to-face reunion. The movie is gripping in the emotion it conveys, but it does not have much of a storyline. Viewers see the torment the men live with, but they never really get to know them much as characters. Even so, the movie’s strongest part is the excellent performances by Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt as the two men who struggle to deal with a fateful moment of their past.
There is much foul language in FIVE MINUTES OF HEAVEN, mostly from the Joe character. The movie’s strong violent content also warrants an extreme caution.