HAVEN Distributed by: 20th Century Fox Film Year: 2004 Film Length: 99 minutes Genre: Drama SIDE A: 1.33:1 fullscreen SIDE B: 1.85:1 theatrical ratio Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: English 5.1 Surround Subtitles: English, Spanish Film Rating: Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW Rating: / Starring: Bill Paxton (Carl Ridley), Orlando Bloom (Shy), Stephen Dillane (Mr. Allen), Zoe Saldana (Andrea), Razaaq Adoti (Richi Rich), Agnes Bruckner (Pippa Ridley), Victor Rasuk (Fritz) Written by: Frank E. Flowers Directed by: Frank E. Flowers Can love survive the fall of paradise? Money laundering is common practice for some. If you can do it, you can hide it. In the Cayman Islands, Americans hide money illegally because of lax laws. One would think that the island is out of control with crime, but with only three murders over years that anyone can remember, the island may be safer than it appears…or is it? ...this is how our story begins. Haven is several stories tied together because one cannot exist without the other. For the first 30 minutes, Carl Ridley (Paxton) flees the feds from his home in Florida with his estranged daughter. They land in the Cayman Islands for safety in hopes they won’t be discovered. On the island, British boy Shy (Bloom), a high school dropout working as a fisherman, shares love with the daughter of a wealthy native Cayman Islands family. Because of his low status they want nothing to do with him. Pippa, Carl Ridley’s daughter is adjusting to life on the island but finds it difficult to stay out of trouble. She’s attracted to local boy Fritz who is more trouble than he looks; he’s a thief and a liar, but his trouble is his youth because he is genuinely misguided by other gangsters as to how to live. How these lives come together all unfold in this sensual island story. It's small-town feel shows how any event ripples through the entire community; everyone knows and everyone is affected from the locals to the tourists. The film takes time to develop the characters and it pays off with the emotional impact it delivers. While not shocking or tear jerking, Haven will leave a lasting impression. IMDB.com lists this film at 115 minutes. I'm going to speculate that this is the runtime when this indie film appeared at the Toronto Film Festival in 2004. This tighter 99-minute cut was used for the wider 2006 theatrical release. There is no mention of deleted scenes and no mention of the film festival in the special features. I had to dig for this information. VIDEO QUALITY: 5/5 Exhibiting a slightly bleached image, the video quality of this 1.85:1 film is superbly transferred for DVD. Only hints of compression artefacts are seen around edges, but that’s normal on the best DVD transfers. Colours are sometimes altered for stylistic purposes and many look brilliant and pop from the screen. Black level is solid and image contrast is very impressive. There is no to fault this transfer; it is reference material. The aspect ratio on Side B looks just slightly under 1.85:1 and is widescreen enhanced. A 1.33:1 full screen version is found on Side A. AUDIO QUALITY: 3/5 The audio is well recorded and demonstrates an impressive mix, but doesn’t garner enough support for creativity. The three front channels are used the most for effects and music. The music, often recorded in the left channel only, is used very effectively to promote the mood of tension and despair. Minor surround activity flows out at a low volume and the LFE is absent in this 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is intelligible by those who speak American and British English, but I had a difficult time understanding the local dialect. Some characters have heavy accents and subtitles are used to help us non-residents understand what is said. TACTILE FUN!! ZERO / TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: OFF SPECIAL FEATURES: / A three and a half minute making of featurette is more of a media release if anything. Quick interview clips from Bloom, Paxton, and Anthony Mackie tell a bit about the film over film segments stolen from the theatrical trailer. It’s not informative at all and would be much better if it dug a bit deeper. How about information on this talented 24-year old writer/director making this film? What was his previous project(s)? How did he get his script to the screen and bring on a great cast? Where was this film marketed? For a film I’ve never heard of (and a good one too), the information available in this feature leaves a lot to be desired. The theatrical trailer for this film is included (framed at 1.78:1). Also included are trailers for Winter Passing and Find Me Guilty. IN THE END... There wasn’t a moment when I felt I was wasting my time watching Haven. For his first major film, Frank E. Flowers has written and directed an excellent story. I want to see more from this director in the future. But for now, I just might take this great looking DVD and watch it again. Recommended. Mike Osadciw January 09, 2007.