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Movie Review – Haven (2004)

I rented this DVD because it said on the back that it was made by the “same team” that brought us Crash. Since Crash has been one of my all-time favorites, I thought I would be treated to the same level of intelligence and excellence – not!

This is basically a 115 minute hip-hop music video with almost a “guest appearance” by Bill Paxton. If Haven was an entry in a camera techniques competition it might have won a “Golden Handheld Camera” award. But thousands of smart close-ups, an out-of-breath editing and a beautiful island a movie do not make.

The story is mind bogglingly simple and trite. Two con artists (in Florida?) evade the feds and jump to the Cayman Islands. Bill Paxton is one of the bad guys who takes to the island his teenage daughter and an obscene amount of cash wrapped around his body.

At that point, the plot snaps and we are introduced a totally new set of characters consisting of a poor fisherman kid, a gorgeous black girl (with strong resemblance to Thandie Newton of Crash) who comes from an upper class family and her jealous brother who would stop at nothing to stop his sister’s affair with the working-class kid from the wrong side of the marina.

This “Caribbean Romeo and Juliet” theme is smothered under layer upon layer of drugs, booze, endless partying around swimming pools where everything goes, a lot of cussing and cursing and posturing by an army of preening bling-bling gangstas with too much testosterone for their own good… going round and round in endless wash cycles.

And what happens to the Bill Saxton character and her daughter? I think at some point he finds himself at the receiving end of a handgun and agrees to part with his cash.

And the Romeo kid who loves the Juliet girl has a bad thing happen to him yet at the end both main characters have a Socratic conversion and disown all drugs and violence.

So we are left there twisting in the balmy trade winds with no closure in sight but the music keeps blaring in the background if that’s any consolation at all.

I have a feeling, long after the discerning film lovers got up in the middle of this Crash-impersonator and went home, the Haven’s crew were still partying at the Caymans.