- Movie Rating -

Heaven Strewn (2012)

| August 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

Mickey and Jasper have been friends since they were kids, but that doesn’t mean they share the same brain.  Now in their 30s, they have actually grown in two different directions though they are still loyal to one another.  Jasper is attempting to get his life together, he is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Chronicle, but his job is in jeopardy.  His girlfriend is pregnant and, naturally, wants him to become more responsible.  Mickey, on the other hand, is always looking for a quick fix.  He counterfeits money and is currently licking his wounds after a botched transaction.

With that, you would imagine that you already know where a movie like Heaven Strewn is going, but here is a movie that takes a familiar plot and is crafted so well that you are with it every step of the way.  It is a character study and a thriller and first-time director Jeremiah Gurzi presents both with a sharp eye and a clear focus.

Hoping to recoup his losses, Mickey talks reluctant Jasper into driving into the desert to look for meteorite fragments which could be worth quite a bit of money.  Out among the sand and the rocks and the burning sun, they witness something – three shady-looking guys in a convertible who bury something in the dirt and drive away.  What is it?  A body?  Cash?  Drugs?  Kimchi?  Mickey goes digging and can’t help stealing what he finds there despite pleas from Jasper to leave it alone.

What happens next must be left for you to discover, only to say that Mickey and Jasper find themselves in hot water with the three guys from the convertible leading to a scene of frightening tension as the trio close in on their motel room.  It is a scene created without flash or over-hyped false tension.  We know where all of the players are at all times so that the scene plays naturally and with a lot of scary tension.  Director Gurzi has a sure hand at how to put an action scene together so that it doesn’t feel like every other thriller that you’ve seen.

Even with that, he also knows how to create tension between Mickey and Jasper.  What happens to their friendship is logical based on what we know about their personalities and, in a powerful scene,,Jasper gives Mickey an ultimatum that seems perfectly reasonable.  Neither of these guys are exactly brilliant in their decision-making and that makes the tension between them and in their circumstances all the more unpredictable. This is one of those films in which the pieces fall together when you start thinking back on it.

If there is one weakness in the film, it is the ending.  What happens in the final scene is completely logical but the film arrives quickly at an ending that seem somewhat abrupt.  It doesn’t destroy the fabric of the film but it leaving you feeling as if there is still some unfinished business.  Still that’s a small criticism of an otherwise fine film from a an exciting new filmmaker.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2012) View IMDB Filed in: Drama, Indie