Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Joel interviews the MIFF team to find out what's in this year's program announcement! Click to listen to our special SWITCHCast ep now.x
review, Some Kind of Heaven, Some, Kind, of, Heaven, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Dennis Dean, Lynn Henry, Anne Kincer, Reggie Kincer, Gary Schwartz, Lance Oppenheim, Documentary film rating

SOME KIND OF HEAVEN

★★★★

A BIZARRE LENS INTO A FLORIDIAN RETIREMENT VILLAGE

REVELATION PERTH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Joel Kalkopf
9th July 2021

I knew nothing about Lance Oppenheim's 'Some Kind of Heaven' going into this bizarre and wonderful documentary, and it's a good thing that I didn't. Not because it's full of twists or spoilers, but because nothing can quite prepare an audience for what they will see. At the end of the feature, and having gone through what some might call the effects of a hallucinogenic, the end title card appears to show that none other than Darren Aronofsky, of 'Mother' and 'Requiem for a Dream' fame, produced this film - then it all starts to make sense.

At just 24 years of age, Oppenheim has crafted a directorial debut that channels the fantasy language of a Lynchian dystopia. But whether the characters and setting that Oppenheim focuses on are living in a utopia or said dystopian landscape, is almost up to the audience to decide. What is clear, however, is that through an uneasy and purposeful phantasmagoric lens, 'Some Kind of Heaven' showcases a retirement village like no other. What's more, audiences are invited into their world to see that, even in retirement, there are stories to tell.

Americans have a fascination with creating for themselves their own bubbles to reside in, where they can live by their own construct and with like-minded people. One such place is The Villages in Florida, which is home to around 130,000 retirees. Designed to look like the America of yesteryear to mimic their youth, this perfectly manicured suburbia is home to some very colourful characters - most notably the four main subjects Oppenheim chooses to follow for his documentary.

'SOME KIND OF HEAVEN' TRAILER

Anne and Reggie have been married for 47 years, but their lives together seem to be drifting apart - probably because Reggie has decided he's now a free spirit, and spends his time with drugs and meditation while he awaits death. Anne is a loyal citizen to The Village, but her limits will be tested as her spouse slowly descends into chaos, evolving into a desolate and yearning resident.

On the other end of the scale is Dennis, a Peter Pan-like character who never grew up from his days as a 20-year-old. Dennis is a single man and a hustler, on the run from his home state and living as a nomad in his car, moving from place to place within The Village to avoid detection. You see, Dennis is not an official resident, so uses his charisma and manipulation to try and crawl his way into a relationship - and, more importantly, a roof over his head.

Then there's Barbara. Sweet, lonely Barbara, who has the difficult job of being the only beacon of hope and sympathy in this whirlwind of a place. Barbara is a widower from Boston who only moved to The Village because her husband fell for the fantasy that was sold to him. Unfortunately, he passed away soon after, leaving Barbara to fend for herself in a place she has never been comfortable in, and trying to discover what it means to live again without her spouse. Mark my words, you will fall for the sheer delight that is Barbara.

All these characters, in their own quirky and unique way, are all ultimately after the same thing: fulfilment. Even in retirement, they all seek love, companionship, meaning and purpose.

At just 24 years of age, Oppenheim has crafted a directorial debut that channels the fantasy language of a Lynchian dystopia.

The film opens with some of the residents excitingly proclaiming that "everything is here", "you never have to leave", and that we now as an audience will get a peek into "nirvana". Part interview, part fly-on-the-wall, and a whole lot of madness, 'Some Kind of Heaven' somehow feels like a documentary that was staged to look like a documentary. With slow zooms into close-ups and aspect ratios akin to modern-day horrors, you would be forgiven for thinking that everybody on screen might be a murderer. There is something almost sinister and unnerving in the way Oppenheim shoots his subjects, but it's so captivating and raw that it's impossible not to get carried away. The figures on screen are so often isolated, and when they are part of something bigger, you can't help but feel you might be watching 'Twin Peaks' or 'Blue Velvet'.

However bizarre the environment and landscape of The Village is projected, it's ultimately the characters that hold the structure of this film together. The pursuit of their desires can be uncomfortable and even sad at times, but they present such a vulnerable nature that you're fascinated by their journeys and hope for their survival. Surviving in this instance might be literal, but it's also their overcoming of fears, their acceptance of a new stage of life, or their newfound awakenings.

I cannot wait to see what Oppenheim decides to do next. Whether it be another documentary or even a short, he has an eye for visual storytelling, and he's clearly skilled at finding the right stories to tell. It can't have been easy to narrow his focus to four residents out of 130,000 at The Village, but Oppenheim showcases the capabilities and trust in his own expertise, that he was able to pull it off.

And pull it off he does. I have not seen a documentary like it, and I doubt I ever will again. For that alone, 'Some Kind of Heaven' should be seen. And for the sheer audaciousness of the subject and the characters at play, 'Some Kind of Heaven' deserves to be noted.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 05/08/2021
RUN TIME: 1h 23m
CAST: Dennis Dean
Lynn Henry
Anne Kincer
Reggie Kincer
Gary Schwartz
DIRECTOR: Lance Oppenheim
PRODUCERS: Darren Aronofsky
Simon Horsman
Pacho Velez
Lance Oppenheim
Kathleen Lingo
Jeffrey Soros
Melissa Oppenheim
Christian Vazquez
SomeKindOfHeavenFilm
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Looking for more Revelation Perth International Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights. 
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Who the hell is Bloodshot? - A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
TRENDINGWHO THE HELL IS BLOODSHOT?A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Malila: The Farewell Flower - Contemplating love and loss
TRENDINGMALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWERContemplating love and loss
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two - New villains, same problems
TRENDINGBATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART TWONew villains, same problems
Buckley's Chance - Not worth a chance
TRENDINGBUCKLEY'S CHANCENot worth a chance
Calm with Horses - A savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
TRENDINGCALM WITH HORSESA savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
Shiva Baby - A comedy of discomfort
TRENDINGSHIVA BABYA comedy of discomfort
The Glass Room - Stunning yet soulless
TRENDINGTHE GLASS ROOMStunning yet soulless
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Swallows of Kabul - Unflinching and gorgeously animated
TRENDINGTHE SWALLOWS OF KABULUnflinching and gorgeously animated
Cerulean Blue - Promising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
TRENDINGCERULEAN BLUEPromising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
2:22 - Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
TRENDING2:22Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
Birds of Prey - I'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
TRENDINGBIRDS OF PREYI'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
La Dolce Vita - Not as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
TRENDINGLA DOLCE VITANot as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!