Five Minutes of Heaven

February 27th, 2009


Five Minutes of Heaven

No valid json found

Oliver Hirschbiegel at event of Five Minutes of HeavenLiam Neeson at event of Five Minutes of HeavenLiam Neeson at event of Five Minutes of HeavenJames Nesbitt at event of Five Minutes of Heaven

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.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 6.7/10 (6,301 voted)

Critic's Score: 62/100

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel

Stars: Liam Neeson, James Nesbitt, Anamaria Marinca

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.

Mark Ryder - Young Alistair (as Mark Davison)
Diarmuid Noyes - Andy
Niamh Cusack - Alistair's Mum
Mathew McElhinney - Stuart
Conor MacNeill - Dave
Paul Garrett - Alistair's Dad
Kevin O'Neill - Young Joe
Gerard Jordan - Jim
Paula McFetridge - Joe's Mum
Gerry Doherty - Joe's Dad
Luke O'Reilly - Brother Dan
Luke McEvoy - Brother John
Aoibheann Biddle - Sister #1
Ruth Matthewson - Sister #2
Carol Moore - Susan

Taglines: To face the future, they must face the past.


Official Website: Official site [Australia] | Official site [Ireland] |

Release Date: 27 February 2009

Filming Locations: Ballybeen, County Down, Northern Ireland, UK

Gross: $13,217 (USA) (30 August 2009)

Technical Specs


Continuity: 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.

Alistair Little: For me to talk about the man I have become, you need to know about the man I was. I was fourteen when I joined the tartan gangs and I was fifteen when I joined the UVF. At that time, don't forget, there were riots on the streets every week; petrol bombs everyday...

User Review

Compelling film and a must see

Rating: 9/10

Just viewed this tonight and thought it was really an excellent commentary on the difficulty of forgiveness, the helplessness of letting go, and, of course, how hate and regret can meet and be resolved (many times with misgivings and myopic single mindedness). It is said that forgiveness (whether of oneself or another) is the hardest endeavor a human being can face. This film brilliantly portrays the anguish of two men, one who hates and can't forgive another, and one who regrets and can't forgive himself. The brevity of the film (121 minutes) and the abrupt ending belies the volumes of emotion that permeate almost every scene. The movie is both compelling and enjoyable while also being very disturbing.

A part not to be overlooked is played by Anamaria Marinca (Vika), a 'gopher' for the film crew. Her character added quite a bit of depth to the film. Neeson and Nesbitt should both be recognized for their riveting performances.

In most films today the focus is on revenge, blood, and murder. "Five Minutes.." includes these vices but, contrary to the blood and gore in many movies today, this film's focal points are, indeed, letting go, finding your life and living it, focusing on what means most to you, demolishing the demons that haunt you, and, most importantly, discovering that elusive human effort which leads to forgiveness. It's hard...very hard, and most of us can't bring ourselves to that end because forgiveness is many times viewed by society as weakness when it is, in actuality, strength.


Comments are closed.