31 user 9 critic

Heaven (1998)

1:41 | Trailer
A divorced architect, fighting for custody of his son and battling addictions to alcohol and gambling, works off his debt to a sleazy strip club owner. There he meets a transsexual dancer ... See full summary »


Scott Reynolds


Chad Taylor (based on the novel by), Scott Reynolds (screenplay)
1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Martin Donovan ... Robert Marling
Daniel Edwards Daniel Edwards ... Heaven (as Danny Edwards)
Richard Schiff ... Stanner
Joanna Going ... Jennifer Marling
Patrick Malahide ... Melrose
Karl Urban ... Sweeper
Michael Langley Michael Langley ... Sean Marling
Jeremy Birchall Jeremy Birchall ... Tree
Clint Sharplin Clint Sharplin ... Nicely
Barry Spring Barry Spring ... Wibber
Jon Brazier Jon Brazier ... Billy
Dean Stewart Dean Stewart ... David
Jane Fullerton-Smith Jane Fullerton-Smith ... Candy (as Jane Fullerton Smith)
Jean Hyland Jean Hyland ... Mrs. Daniels
Valerie Williams Valerie Williams ... Claire


A divorced architect, fighting for custody of his son and battling addictions to alcohol and gambling, works off his debt to a sleazy strip club owner. There he meets a transsexual dancer whose ability to see the future will change his life forever.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every Seduction Is A Gamble.


Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for vicious, bloody violence including rape, pervasive strong language, and sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



New Zealand | USA



Release Date:

30 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aihmalotos ston paradeiso See more »

Filming Locations:

New Zealand


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,983, 2 May 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Miramax theatrical trailer contains several shots that aren't in the film, including:
  • Jennifer and Robert arguing about his 'friendship' with Stanner while driving.
  • A love scene between Robert and Jennifer.
  • Tree and Nicely wearing animal masks in one of Heaven's visions.
  • Heaven asleep in a movie theater.
See more »


Robert Marling: I'm the chairman of the fuckin' board!
See more »


Referenced in Jersey Girl (2004) See more »


Get Up
(Jon Toogood (as Toogood) / Shihad)
Polygram Music
Performed by Shihad
Courtesy of Wildside Records/Polydor Records Australia/FDA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Gore galore when Heaven hits Hollywood
4 December 1999 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

I had a premonition about this movie. Young NZ director (Scott Reynolds) makes low budget but interesting first feature ("Ugly") and gets snared by Hollywood. Makes more ambitious next film (although the budget doesn't seem to be much greater) in the style of film noir meets Tarantino (with less humour and more gore.) Bet he fluffs it.

Well, he does, up to a point. There's plenty of talent here in this familiar but painful tale of an architect (Martin Donovan) down on his uppers and suffering from a severe case of compulsive gambling trying to preserve access to his young son (Michael Langley.) He is really up against it. His beautiful but very fed-up estranged wife (Joanna Going) is having an affair with their marriage guidance counsellor (Patrick Malahide) and for good measure has appropriated his lawyer as well (there's enough professional conflict of interest here to keep a couple of misconduct tribunals going for months).

Our architect's current client, a sleazy nightclub owner (Richard Schiff), is doing his best to reduce him to penury through their late-night poker games. Into this mess floats Heaven, a six-foot four Polynesian transsexual and nightclub dancer (Danny Edwards, in a standout performance), who sees in the near future useful things like winning card hands, and some more nasty pending events. She takes a shine to the architect and helps him through the mess, but not after being pretty badly treated herself.

Really I think this film is spoiled by too much gore. It has a good intelligent storyline, fine acting, suitably grungy locations and sets, plenty of pace, imaginative time-shifting and cross-cutting (without being too obscure) and then all this stupid carnage towards the end, lovingly and lingeringly shot. Less is more!

Still, I enjoyed Patrick Malahide (unforgettable years ago as the nasty perpetually frustrated Inspector Chisholm in TV's "Minder") who plays the unethical counsellor. Danny Edwards beautifully conveys the pain of someone who can see the future but, having a rather passive nature, is not well equipped to deal with it. Still, people like Heaven do attract protectors, and, fittingly, she gets it together with Raymond (Karl Urban), the club's handsome macho bouncer.

The film was shot in Auckland, New Zealand with an NZ cast apart from (I think) four of the leads, but it appears as an identi-kit grungy urban environment from anywhere. (Though it has to be pointed out that Auckland railway station's 1930s "Georgian Maori" architecture is pretty distinctive and there are plenty of right hand drive cars of 70s vintage that never saw a US freeway). I don't know what it is about Auckland, a pretty place on a fine harbour, that makes filmmakers present it in such a way. Another recent example was "Once Were Warriors" but that was a film of great cultural relevance. This one just uses Auckland as a toilet.

The price of participation in global film culture? Though Miraxmax are listed as the producers, I'd feel happier if it carried the wording "no government money was used in the making of this film."

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