Seven Minutes in Heaven
A slow-moving but affecting drama, "Seven Minutes in Heaven" shows the true costs of terrorism on a personal level.
Galia (Reymond Ansalem) was on a commuter bus when a suicide bomber struck it, killing her boyfriend and scores of other passengers. Galia herself was unresponsive for seven minutes (hence the title), but was brought back by a paramedic.
A year later, someone sends Galia the necklace she lost in the blast, and she sets out to find the person who found it and gave it back to her.
For much of the film Galia mopes around, reluctantly befriending a man named Boaz (Eldad Fribas) who helped her on the street and seems taken by her. She questions whether he's hitting on her, and we get the sense he is, but he is willing to wait until she's ready.
The film is rather slow moving, focusing on Galia's emotional turmoil. She's haunted by the ghosts of the other victims, seeing them clearly as she walks the streets, and she holds a great deal of angst over her boyfriend's death; they fought the morning of the attack and he only boarded the bus going after her.
The film's ending toes the line between touching and trite. Much of the scene is heartbreaking, as Galia returns to the charred shell of the bus she got on that morning and we find out she has extraordinarily vivid images of what should have been a day like any other.
But filmmakers take is the most obvious route in revealing who sent the necklace, and the reveal is something that people do only in movies. To reveal more would spoil the movie, but suffice it to say the characters' motivations for doing what they do, and when they reveal themselves, is a common plot device.
The cinematography is terrific, and writer/director Omri Givon paints the screen in dim, depressing blue to match Galia's mood.
There are questions as to the religious nature of the film. Some characters speculate that some people who die aren't ready for heaven and still have unfinished business in this world, but there isn't a lot of reflection on that issue.
"Seven Minutes in Heaven" isn't a particularly original or insightful film, relying on familiar narrative tones to tell a rather universal story. It's an Israeli film, but it doesn't do anything to stand out from the myriad American films that have a similar topic. Not that it's a not a bad film; on the contrary it's very well made, but doesn't do much to distinguish itself as originally Hebrew, other than the language.