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Five Minutes of Heaven
Sunday, 5th April 2009
9pm to 10:25pm
Alistair Little was 17 years old in 1975 when, as a fledgling member of the Loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force, he murdered his first and only Catholic. Little fired three shots through the downstairs window of James Griffin's home in Lurgan, County Armagh, killing the 19 year old as he sat watching television. "I've scored," he told his masked accomplices as they drove off.
James Griffin's younger brother, Joe, who had been kicking a football around outside at the time, witnessed the whole thing. Their eyes locked and Little admits now that if had known that Joe was Griffin's brother, he would have killed him too.
This much of the story is absolutely true.
This one off drama from the BBC, written by Guy Hibbert (writer of Omagh) now veers off into "what if" territory. It imagines what would happen if the two men were to meet up now over 30 years after the event. Whether there would be reconciliation, which is the current mantra of post-conflict situations. Or whether the outcome would be something much darker.
Guy Hibbert spent three years writing this screenplay. He conducted extensive interviews with the two men over the course of those years, getting to know them, getting to understand their history and what this single cataclismic event had meant to their lives. The end point being where Hibbert felt that he could realistically chart a story line for these men based upon their reality.
The real life Alistair Little (played by Liam Neeson), spent 12 years in prison for his crime and now works in "conflict transformation" ie the reconciliation industry, for people in Ireland, Israel, the Balkans and South Africa. Or, as the adult Joe Griffin (played by James Nesbitt) bitterly puts it in Five Minutes of Heaven: "He swans around the world telling people what it feels like to kill a man."
Griffin on the other hand had his world unravel as a result of his elder brother's murder. His relationship with his family collapsed and he grew up as a broken man, not able to move on from that night in 1975.
The film itself has quite a remarkable history. Originally conceived as a film for BBC4, the channel backed out of the project when it became clear that they wouldn't have the funds to do the job properly. At this point the producers went out to find additional finance. The time it took to raise this money allowed the script to develop to a much more mature product. The timing also, once the finance was raised, coincided with certain key people being now available to work on the project.
The actors Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt, both from Northern Ireland and both first rate actors came aboard the project, and have put in excellent performances. Particularly Nesbitt as the tortured Joe Griffen. The film is brought together under the direction of Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall / Der Untergang) with his characteristic minimalist style which allows the story to develop from the actors and script alone without flashy directorial gimmicks.
=== File Information ===
File Name: Five Minutes of Heaven (2009).avi
Duration: 01:22:07 (123,174 fr)
File Size: 699 MB (or 716,726 KB or 733,927,424 bytes) bytes
=== Video Information ===
Video Codec Name: XviD
Video Bitrate: 1053 kb/s
Bits / Pixel: 0.187 bits/pixel
Resolution: 640x352 (1.82:1) [=20:11]
Frames Per Second: 25.000 fps
=== Audio Information ===
Audio Codec: 0x0055(MP3) ID'd as MPEG-1 Layer 3
Audio Bitrate: 130 kb/s (65/ch, stereo) VBR LAME3.90
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