Too bad this long-shelved whatsit is getting only a limited release, and at the bitter end of summer no less. Despite being hobbled by a droopy midsection and distracting narrative gymnastics, Haven is intriguing enough to be a somewhat compelling melodrama.
That’s mostly due to its setting, the Cayman Islands, and director-screenwriter Flowers’s thoughtful, if cursory, evocation of the locale’s sociopolitical specifics (he’s a native). The plot, comprising multiple threads presented in nonlinear fashion, is the lesser draw. The daughter (Bruckner) of a U.S. businessman (Paxton) on the lam from the Feds falls in with a petty thief, while, in what seems like a separate movie, a beach bum (Bloom) gets a nasty comeuppance for wooing the scion (Saldana) of a local bigwig. All story lines climactically converge, and the movie ultimately generates some real feeling for its characters.
Not quite enough, however. Flowers gets nice performances from his ensemble cast (Bloom notwithstanding), who probably didn’t mind the location shooting, and finds a reasonable balance between stylistic flash and sustained tension. But Haven lacks the grace and dexterity to flesh out its insights into power, race, class and desire in the Caribbean, and succumbs to its structural confusion as a result.—Mark Holcomb
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