A Little Trip to Heaven

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Screenwriters: Baltasar Kormákur

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


When a million-dollar life insurance policy comes up for collection, the company always opens a case. When a million-dollar life insurance policy held by notorious con artist Kelvin Anderson comes up for collection, the company sends the best to investigate . . . and so they dispatch Holt, a wool-capped and beige-mannered claims investigator played with an Irish brogue by acclaimed actor Forest Whitaker. When Holt's current assignment takes him to the snowy small town of Hastings, Minnesota, to confirm Kelvin's death, he senses deception from the start. So begins a dramatic emotional tangle with the policy's single beneficiary, Kelvin's sister, Isold (played hauntingly by Julia Stiles), and her volatile husband, Fred (Jeremy Renner, rounding out the trifecta of nuanced performances).

What great crime noir must do is keep you guessing, but what Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur has delivered is a film that does much more. Returning the genre to a place of both credibility and true danger, Kormákur finds as much interest in the ambivalent moral winds of the story as the mysterious events generating them. In this richly photographed landscape of frigid loneliness and desperation, the light and shadows of right and wrong change as often as the seasons: familiar emotional territory for the acclaimed director of The Sea.

— Joseph Beyer

Screening Details

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