Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5. USA/New Zealand, 1998. PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Interscope Communications, Metafilmics. Screenplay by Ronald Bass, based on the novel by Richard Matheson. Cinematography by Eduardo Serra. Produced by Barnet Bain. Music by Michael Kamen. Production Design by Eugenio Zanetti. Costume Design by Yvonne Blake. Film Editing by David Brenner, Maysie Hoy. Academy Awards 1998.
Robin Williams plays a happy family man, married to Annabella Sciorra, who tries to help a car accident victim and ends up getting himself killed in a highway tunnel. Next thing he knows he’s being escorted around an oil painting-inspired utopia by welcome wagon Cuba Gooding Jr., discovering the many wonderful things about heaven (you can live in a house that looks like your favourite French villa), only to find out that his wife has committed suicide after losing her husband (she had already lost her children) and must be saved from the hell that her action has placed her in. Naturally, Williams consults Max von Sydow to find out where his wife is located and see what he can do to save her. To look at it is pleasing, as the film is a visual feast and its effects are top-notch, but Williams’ hammy performance and the annoyingly not-subtle emotions on display make it not in any way worth watching. Even the hopelessly romantic will be sticking their fingers down their throats, and besides, it’s boring.