A Little Trip To Heaven is an odd film to say the least, but an interesting one all the same. The film is about insurance, we meet an insurance investigator Abe Holt (Forest Whitaker with an odd accent), who gets sent in to investigate a car accident. We see the actual accident was not one at all, as we see an unknown man get attacked and killed by a man we get to know as Fred (Jeremy Renner). We are lead to believe that the man killed is the brother of Fred’s wife Isold (Julia Stiles), and he left her as the sole benefactor to his life insurance. Abe feels something isn’t quite right, and the truth slowly unfolds.
I’ll say this off the bat, the film had a great look and feel to it. It is set in the mid 80’s, which I think they did a great job of establishing without giving us a date until much later on. It is set in the middle of a cold winter, and I really felt that, but it also suited the cold mood of the film as well, quite an affective technique. It had a bit of a washed out feel to it with certain scenes, and other scenes filled with more colour. The story was not exactly what I expected, however I think the director crafted the film in such a way it was more interesting then it actually was. It did feel realistic for the most part, insurance fraud I imagine is still something which happens quite often, and it was an interesting look at how far people will go.
The performances were all really good, Julia Stiles was great as Isold. You could see there was more to her character then we first saw, which does unfold slowly. It makes me wonder why she isn’t in more films, she is such a great talent. Forest Whitaker was good too, I was a bit thrown off by his odd accent. He always delivers a solid performance, and there was something sad about his character. Both Stiles and Whitaker showed a strange connection with their characters and this needed to work for the ending to be credible. Jeremy Renner was something else, again he continues to just impress me to no end. His character is a cold person, and he really brought that across. He actually gave me the chills at times, certainly this was one character I would not want to come across.
I think part of what let this film down for me, is I saw where it was all going very early one. I knew what the twists were going to be, and I probably shouldn’t have known so early on. So when it all played out I wasn’t surprised at all, and the ending I think was more on the weak side. In the end though, this film is about helping those who really do need it. Being in such a bad situation, some where there is a light at the end of the tunnel even if you don’t see it or expect it. Not a bad way to pass 90mins, certainly worth a look with the three main performances.