Saturday, September 6, 2008

Like life itself

The Edge of Heaven, which I saw last night, is a totally
satisfying film—so much so that I was sorry to see the
closing credits roll. I would have been happy for it not
to end but to go on hour after hour, like life itself. The
director, Fatih Akin, has the supreme artist’s gift of
knowing what to leave out, what not to say and when to
let events make their own point without underlining or
overemphasizing them. The pace of the film is utterly
unforced. Comparisons have already been made with
Crash and Babel, other films that explore the
ramifications of chance and coincidence by gradually
showing how interwoven the lives of apparently
unconnected characters are; but, as Anthony Lane
writes in his New Yorker review, The Edge of Heaven is
not so much about crossed paths as “paths that almost
cross but don’t, and the tragedy of the near-miss.” One
or two of the near-misses shown would break your heart,
it’s true; but these play out, ultimately, as ineluctable
reality rather than avoidable tragedy, and are balanced,
anyway, by moments of unexpected redemption—as if
life has a way of self-correcting in the long run. It doesn’t
necessarily, of course, but great art can be wonderfully
consoling like that.

For a man of 35, Akin shows an astonishing maturity in
his handling of themes of age, grief and loss. Head On, his
last film, was very powerful too, in a more in-your-face
way. The Edge of Heaven is more in-your-heart: it moved
mine anyway.

1 comment:

Mary McCallum said...

Hi Denis. Well I'll be getting Edge of Heaven out of Aro Video this weekend. Thank you for your review.

And on another subject altogether, to add to our discussion last night: The Blue is about 'being there for your children' as Robyn so perspicaciously said, but arching over that is the theme of 'living with the choices you make' - what happens to Micky is partly that. How you can choose to do something and it can have unforeseen effects right down the line, especially with children. In Micky's case it's possible his nature has been affected by events in the past which leads in turn to what he did on the water in the present, and hence the accident. Or then again, he may have been like that anyway. We don't know and neither does Lilian. So it's about learning to live with that and seeing the good that has come from what happened. There are echoes, too, of that old chestnut 'hubris' - Micky being like all men at that time. It was a time of flight, of war, of men pushing themselves beyond their previous limits ..

Thank you for yours and Robyn's interest. Mary