"3 Steps to Heaven"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    Katrin Cartlidge as SUZANNE
    Frances Barber as ANDREA WALLIS
    James Fleet as HARRY ROBERTS
    Con O’Neill as ANGEL FARNHAM
    David Cardy as HOOD
    Paul-Mark Elliot as JOHN BOWLES
    Stuart Lang as SEAN

    Rated R
    Studio: Miramax

    Directed by: Rebecca Dobbs
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Okay, I know that what goes on a cover box of a DVD is more of a marketing decision than any statement of truth. But to call “3 Steps to Heaven” a film “in the seductive style of ‘Dirty Pretty Things’” is just downright silly. This film is nothing like “Dirty Pretty Things” - and not in a good way.

“3 Steps to Heaven” follows the story of Suzanne (Katrin Cartlidge), a middle-aged woman in London who has an affair with a younger man named Sean (Stuart Lang). One night, he never comes home, and she learns that he has drowned in the river. This spurs Suzanne to do some detecting herself and uncovers what might be a sinister plot for his murder.

However, after digging a little bit and confronting the club goers that were with him on his last night, things turn out to be more of a series of unfortunate circumstances. It still ends in his death, but that sinister set-up crumbles away.

The film becomes Suzanne’s quest to seek revenge for Sean’s death. However, because she’s not a professional killer, her methods are a bit sloppy. Cartlidge does a decent acting job as the bumbling novice revenge artist. However, the character as it is laid out is a bit weak. There is also an underlying tone that shows no concern for innocent bystanders.

In one scene Suzanne attempts to kidnap one of her targets, but she fidgets with her gun and accidentally fires a shot in a crowded elevator. As the crowd runs screaming from the elevator, one of the people inside appears to suffer a heart attack and dies. Suzanne just runs away, with no concern for him, although her life has become a vendetta against the three people she thinks killed her lover.

At times, the film follows a fairly realistic path. However, other times is swerves into the ludicrous with a hit man that dances ballet before throwing his victim off a building and a local politician who acts simultaneously brazen and ashamed at his public outing.

“3 Steps from Heaven” is a remnant from the 1990s that Miramax has released on DVD. It contains no special features whatsoever, and the lead actress is three years dead. (She died of pneumonia in 2002.) At the very least, they should have included a commentary track of some sort to round out the disc. Unfortunately, you’re left with a mediocre movie and a cover box that promises a heck of a lot more than it could ever deliver.

Specifications: Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1) - Enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish subtitles. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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