Zodiac Killer
DVD
Cinema Signal:

Knights of the Zodiac, Vol. 7:
Battle of the Ages


. "Haven"

If there was ever a movie in need of a couple of re-writes, this disjointed mystery-puzzle is near the top of the list. The only surprise is that Bill Paxton couldn't get it put together with more intelligibility and character identification, given the fact that he's an ardent fan of the genre, like the concise and clever "A Simple Plan" of 1998, the twisty work of character genius, "One False Move," and the desperate failure, "Frailty," all aiming for the "aha!" moment, the stripping away of hidden meaning, the final wrench at the end. That's what "Haven" aspires to, but winds up diffused by its own good intentions.

You need a road map or a narrator to make sense of it as it careens off one story line and then another. First is a very brief interlude (little more than a film clip) off a beach in Cayman Island where a character named "Shy" (Orlando Bloom) and his young, sexy girlfriend Andrea (Zoe Saldana) are in the warm island waters and in love and mean to do something about it soon. The action cuts to two shady businessmen taking off for the tax haven of the Caymans to dodge federal agents.

Fortunately for Carl Ridley (Paxton), an old flame working for his partner in crime, Mr. Allen (Stephen Dillane), tips him off that the feds are on their way with a warrant, giving him time to wrap up a million bucks and abscond to the Caymans with the loot and daughter Pippa (Agnes Bruckner), a gal who is none to happy to be ripped from her friends and comforts. Not to worry, though. She'll make new ones. There to take up the slack is gabby opportunist Richie Rich (Razaaq Adoti) with a line that's as feeble as it is predictable.

As the slightly overlong film progresses on its chaotic course, the two story lines eventually intersect and we pick up on its intentions. The fog of incoherence lifts on the inter-relationships of the betrayals and conspiracies that drive the action. Once this occurs, we discover moments that suggest dramatic potential. And, writer-director Frank E. Flowers' ensemble of actors are anything but uninteresting. But, by the time his intentional gaps are filled in, and the frenetic quality of his directorial steerage becomes less seasick, the vessel has taken on too much water and the lifeboats have floated out to sea.

Yes, it's a clear, blue piece of ocean that attracts many a tourist and a stream of money launderers, but this "Haven" is too far gone for a rescue.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  




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Zoe Saldana and Orlando Bloom
No haven for hidden feelings.
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