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Reporting in from New York. A huge thanks to Matt at YFG for giving the "ok" for me to attend one of many advance press screenings being held in Manhattan this month. Finally seeing Haven was an exhilirating experience. My review follows (note, there was no talent (cast members) at this screening. Direct quotes are from the press document provided by the PR firm that organizes the screenings):

Producer Robbie Brenner, after reading the script for Haven, told Frank E. Flowers, writer and director, “I’ll quit my job if you let me produce this movie.” Many people couldn’t believe the person who had written Haven was only 24 years old. Orlando Bloom (cast as Shy) was so taken by the script that he signed on to produce as well. He didn’t, however, sign on to portray Fritz, the role he was initially offered. “I loved the script, but the role I most responded to was the character of Shy, who at the time was written as a young Caymanian kid about 15 years old,” recalls Bloom, who was reluctant for Flowers to change the integrity of the script, but curious to see how he could do it. “I was amazed. In literally 48 hours, Frank came back with another script in which Shy had redeveloped into a character I could play. I knew right then that if he could do something like that, I wanted to work with him.”

At the time only 27 years old himself, Bloom also made his first foray in the producing role. “It was exciting to start at the bottom of a film and work your way through it, to really roll up your sleeves and get involved,” he said. “It really made me emotionally connected to the movie, so much so that it became part of me.”

After seeing the movie tonight, I too, was astounded that such a complex story was so well told by such a filmmaker, and a producer/actor, both of whom were still a few years shy (no pun intended) of 30.

Let me state up front, I didn’t attend the initial screening of Haven in 2004 at the Toronto International Film Festival so I’m unable to offer any comparisons of the earlier version of the film to the 98 minute version screened tonight. I’ve heard there’s been some possible re-tooling and editing done since 2004. If so, the result is a tight, fast-paced multi-plot film replete with irony and more twists and turns than the complicated financial system of the island.

Flowers says he doesn’t consider himself a historian or a sociologist, but he does know his way around the islands and a great deal about the rich texture of its culture. That knowledge and experience is evident when watching the film, as we’re shown various locations around the islands, from glitzy vacation villas, to smoky food vendor stalls along unpaved roads, to the party spots where wealthy “off-shore visitors” come together with the island’s underground drug/crime royalty to party, to a dusty schoolyard, to the humble home of a fisherman.

The film is classic non-linear, multiplot. The two stories, one a love story, the other a crime story, wind their way around each other in space, character, and time. While it would appear at first glance that Andrea (played beautifully by Zoe Saldana) and Shy, the main characters of the love story, have nothing in common with Carl Ridley (played well by Bill Paxton) and Mr. Allen (played by Stephen Dillane with a brilliant sense of wit and white-collar villainy), one discovers, as the story progresses, that they, as well as other supporting characters in both stories, are all flawed, broken people. Even though they are surrounded by the beauty of a tropical paradise, the refuge they seek appears to be just beyond their grasp.

“What attracted me to the story is that all of the characters in it are broken, and subject to the tragic consequences of their actions,” observed Saldana. “They all had flaws, and whether they were victims of circumstances of because of the choices they made, they were very real because of their imperfections.”

The movie’s cast is a refreshing combination of Hollywood veterans and local Caymanians who were recruited, auditioned, and trained for several supporting roles in the film. This resulted in a delicious infusion of local Cayman culture into over 30 speaking roles.

The role of Shy provided Orlando the opportunity to show new freedom and depth in his craft, perhaps to a degree never before seen. Certainly, being liberated from the restrictions of working with a sword helped. He does have two other contemporary films under his belt; The Calcium Kid, shot before Haven, and Elizabethtown, shot after Haven. While both films were delightful, I still think he brings more passion and spirit to this film. We see a wider range of emotions, from tender love and hope, to humiliation and shame, emotional withdrawal, rage, confusion, and despair, to name only a few. It is acting in its purest state, and he shines in it.

The film, in my opinion, is gripping, edgy, hip, tragic, complex, beautifully scripted, and wonderfully acted. The non-linear time shifts that Flowers employs may be perplexing to some. However, I found it served only to keep my eyes riveted to the screen. It’s the kind of movie that requires your full attention. You’ll want to put down your bucket of popcorn so you don’t miss anything.

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Thank you Jane for that great review. I think you did a far better job than the ones that do it for a living. As if I wasn't excited before about seeing Haven, but after reading your review I really want to see this and to see Orlando's outstanding performance.

Thanks again for sharing that with us Jane and thank you to Matt for letting Ka-bloom be a big part of promoting this wonderful movie. :hug:

Kim

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Thanks to Matt at Yari for giving ka-Bloom yet another opportunity to represent fans at a press event for one of Orlando's projects.

We see a wider range of emotions, from tender love and hope, to humiliation and shame, emotional withdrawal, rage, confusion, and despair, to name only a few. It is acting in its purest state, and he shines in it.

Yep, that's how I remember it. Can't wait to see what got re-tooled.

Fantastic review, Jane. Thanks for taking the time and expense of making yourself available for this screening, so that we can have a fresh ka-Bloomie review. YSFR!!

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Thanks to Matt at Yari for giving ka-Bloom yet another opportunity to represent fans at a press event for one of Orlando's projects.
I couldn't agree more! :clap:

Jane, thank you so much for your review! You definitely know how to build up the anticipation of what we all know will be a fantastic film! And as Geri says, YSFR!!

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Thanks so much Jane for your wonderfully written review. I didn't think I could get any more excited about the release of this film, but I think you just might have changed my mind. :2thumbs:

Lori :hug:

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Jane, thank you so much for your glowing review that is not a bit spoilerish. It's true, YSFR! :punk:

I am so privileged to be part of ka-Bloom and to partake in all its riches.

And thanks to Yari and Matt for their generosity and for distributing this film.

:hug:

Aliza

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Thanks Jane for your very thorough review of Haven. :hug:

“What attracted me to the story is that all of the characters in it are broken, and subject to the tragic consequences of their actions,” observed Saldana. “They all had flaws, and whether they were victims of circumstances of because of the choices they made, they were very real because of their imperfections.”

From what Zoe said, this sounds like a gripping movie. No wonder Orlando raved about it so much. I can't wait to see it myself. :clap:

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Wow, Jane. I'll echo Geri's thanks to you for attending this screening. You've been working so hard on helping promote Haven, and you deserved the sneak peek. :clap: Thanks also to Matt for the opportunity!

I really appreciate your well-written review as well. It sounds like a riveting film that will keep us on the edges of our seats. I'm so excited to see Orlando play Shy. It sounds like the trailer is a nice sampling of his portrayal. I do hope that Haven gets good exposure, for Orlando's sake, and for everyone else involved in making it. :cheer:

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It is acting in its purest state, and he shines in it.

If I remember correctly, this seemed to be what Orlando loved about this film: The fact that they got out there and acted. No cgi, no complicated stunts, no distractions from portraying your character. I would imagine that this is closer to stage acting than any movie he has done.

Thank-you so very much for this review, Jane, and for all you have done to promote this movie. :flowers: And thank-you to Matt for being so generous and sharing all these promotional materials with us at ka-Bloom. It is muchly appreciated.

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Jane, what an excellent review! :hug: I'm delighted you had the opportunity to attend this screening. Thanks to Matt and Yari for making it possible, and to you for sharing your thoughts and impressions with us.

Haven sounds full bodied and full blooded, gripping, emotionally rich, and one of those films that will keep us on the edge of our seats. I am so hoping it will receive a wide release and that those of us in small towns will have the opportunity to see it.

Barbara

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Great review Jane! I am so glad you liked the movie. You made it sound even better than I expected. Can't wait to see it.

Thanks to Matt for making it all possible.

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I'm really pleased you were given this opportunity, Jane. After all the hard work you have done you deserve it!

Thanks so much for the review, too, it's really insightful.

Now, when is this film coming to the UK...... please!

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The role of Shy provided Orlando the opportunity to show new freedom and depth in his craft, perhaps to a degree never before seen. Certainly, being liberated from the restrictions of working with a sword helped. He does have two other contemporary films under his belt; The Calcium Kid, shot before Haven, and Elizabethtown, shot after Haven. While both films were delightful, I still think he brings more passion and spirit to this film. We see a wider range of emotions, from tender love and hope, to humiliation and shame, emotional withdrawal, rage, confusion, and despair, to name only a few. It is acting in its purest state, and he shines in it.

Wow, a very professionally written review. I am so impressed, Jane. :clap:

The man is going to have to do more of these little independant movies as well as the big Hollywood blockbusters as he continues to shine and expand and grow in them, unfettered by the big studios and unshadowed by the older more experienced actors. He needs the freedom to break the mold and give it his all in movies like Haven seems to be.

YSFR Jane.but you are also one lucky duck, and you have just cranked up the anti for me by about ten notches.

A note to Yari and the lovely generous Matt: I sincerely thank you for the respect and recognition you have granted the owners and members of Ka-Bloom. But please expand the distribution so that we non-U.S. fans of this wonderfully talented and spirited actor can share in the drama of Haven.

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If I remember correctly, this seemed to be what Orlando loved about this film: The fact that they got out there and acted. No cgi, no complicated stunts, no distractions from portraying your character. I would imagine that this is closer to stage acting than any movie he has done.

Well said, Patty. As was your review Jane. What an excellent opportunity for you and well deserved. Thanks to Matt as well for making it possible.

Can't wait for September 15th.

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What a wonderful opportunity! Jane you've done a marvellous job on your review; it's detailed and very well-written! You've really captured the complexity and fast pace of the movie.

I'm very much hoping that Haven makes it way back to Toronto. I'm eager to see how the film varies from the TIFF version.

Jules

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What a lovely review! Jane called me as she was leaving the theater last night, and the lilt in her voice was all I needed to hear to know that she loved the movie. The fact that she was also saying "I loved it!" helped, though. :shiny:

Thanks for the review, Jane! And thanks to Matt and YFG for letting one of our own get an advance peek!

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WOW, you lucky girl Jane. And what a splendid review. Much better that what some of the professional critics come out with! YSFR :punk:! GO GIRL! And thanks for taking the time to go and see the film and write your review. ( Not that it was a hardship, :wink: )

And a huge thanks to everyone else who made it possible for our Jane to go.

I agree with the other girls who said : We want HAVEN in other countries! ( UK, for me ) :cheer:

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Thank you for the wonderful review, Jane. :2thumbs: Many thanks to Matt and YFG as well for giving you the opportunity to do this and share it with us. :hug: I love what I'm hearing here.

I'm still crossing my fingers that it will at least come to Atlanta. I won't mind the drive at all as long as I can see it.

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