6.7/10
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52 user 86 critic

Five Minutes of Heaven (2009)

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The story of former UVF member Alistair Little. Twenty-five years after Little killed Joe Griffen's brother, the media arrange an auspicious meeting between the two.

Writer:

(screenplay)
8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
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An examination of the aftermath of the 1998 Real IRA bombing that killed 29 people in Omagh, Northern Ireland.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Young Alistair - 1975 (as Mark Davison)
Diarmuid Noyes ...
Andy - 1975
...
Alistair's Mum - 1975
Mathew McElhinney ...
Stuart - 1975
...
Dave - 1975
...
Alistair's Dad - 1975
Kevin O'Neill ...
Young Joe - 1975
...
Jim - 1975
Paula McFetridge ...
Joe's Mum - 1975
Gerry Doherty ...
Joe's Dad - 1975
Luke O'Reilly ...
Brother Dan - 1975
Luke McEvoy ...
Brother John - 1975
Aoibheann Biddle ...
Sister 1 - 1975
Ruth Matthewson ...
Sister 2 - 1975
...
Susan - 1975
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Storyline

In February, 1975, in Northern Ireland, seventeen year-old UVF member Alistair Little kills the catholic Jimmy Griffin in his house in Lurgan in front of his younger brother Joe Griffin. Alistair is arrested and imprisoned for twelve years while Joe is blamed by his mother for not saving his brother. Thirty-three years later, a TV promotes the meeting of Alistair and Joe in a house in River Finn, expecting the truth and the reconciliation of the murderer and the victim who actually seeks five minutes of heaven. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

To face the future, they must face the past.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

27 February 2009 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Cinco minutos de gloria  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,364, 21 August 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$13,217, 30 August 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The little boy he delivers the note from Liam Neeson's character was named "Liam." See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Alistair (as a teenager) is rummaging through the box under his bed, he extracts a knitted stuffed animal and places it beside the box with the head facing away from him. When he pulls out the gun, the stuffed animal is now lying with its head closest to him. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Alistair - 1975: [narrating] For me to talk about the man I have become, you need to know about the man I was. I was 14 when I joined the Tartan gangs, and I was 15 when I joined the UVF, the Ulster Volunteer Force. At that time, don't forget, there were riots on the streets every week; petrol bombs everyday, and that was just in our town. When you got home and switched on the TV, you could see what was happening in every other town as well, and it was like we were under siege. Fathers and brothers ...
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Connections

References The Way of the Dragon (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Dynamite
Performed by Mud
Composed by Mike Chapman (as Chapman) and Nicky Chinn (as Chinn)
Courtesy of EMI Records Limited
Published by Universal Music Publishing MGB
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
My five minutes of heaven, how can that not be good for me?
27 June 2009 | by See all my reviews

An estimated 3720 people were killed as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

This film is a fiction inspired by two men who bear the legacy of one of those killings.......

That is the opening salvo from the makers of Five Minutes of Heaven, I would personally like to add, since no other reviewer here has said it thus far, that the two protagonists never met in real life.

Five Minutes of Heaven was first screened at the Sundance festival in 2009 and won awards for Directing {Oliver Hirschbiegel} and for screen writing {Guy Hibbert}. It stars Liam Neeson as Alistair Little and James Nesbitt as Joe Griffen. The story is about how a young wannabe hero of the Ulster Volunteer Force {Little} gunned down the brother of Joe Griffen {Nesbitt}, purely because he was of Catholic religion, all witnessed by young soccer ball kicking Joe out on the pavement in front of the Griffen house. After the build up and execution of the crime, we forward to the future after Little has served 12 years prison for the murder, and here we now have a television company led meeting between the two after the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

It's only now that the film really kicks in as a powerful piece that has something to say. Too many third rate productions caricature their characters in films involving the British/Irish troubles, but the makers here are keen to avoid that-hence the appearance of Neeson, who wouldn't have come cheap one feels. Both Nesbitt {ranking along side George Best as most talented thing to come out of Northern Ireland} and Neeson then shift gears to ram home the point of the story. This is about forgiveness, pertinent questions about if that is possible under the most trying of circumstances. Would you be able to move on? And at what cost? Both sides of the coin are deftly rubbed by Hirschbiegel and his terrific cast.

It would be stupid of me to not say the piece has problems since it clearly isn't perfect. Both sides of the families involved are not formed at all, and that is without a doubt a very big misstep. Probably a victim of course of the TV movie production value and the sadly inept running time afforded it. But that annoyance aside, and in the context of the final product.....well it works out rather well I feel. There's some smart points of reference in there, note the young Little handling his gun amongst a sea of childhood toys, while there's a dolly out shot involving a church that nails that particular scene with maximum poignancy. But really, as is normally the way in this type of production, it lives or dies by its ending, and the question is answered as to if the actors involved have involved us enough to actually carry it off?

We are OK here, because we got Nesbitt and Neeson, point made, acted accordingly, yep, see this if you can. 8/10


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