Abe Holt is a quiet and reserved insurance loss adjuster for the 'Quality Life' insurance company whose main priority is to be absolutely ruthless in aiding the firm to pay out the minimum possible sum on life insurance policy claims. When Abe is dispatched to assess a claim in the small town of Hastings Minnesota in which the brother of a local woman has been burnt alive in a fatal car crash, Abe soon feels that there is something not quite right. With a badly burnt corpse unable to be identified and the dead man's sister the sole beneficiary of his life insurance policy and a million dollar payout at stake, he begins to delve into the pasts of the dead brother, his sister and her husband to see if he can dig up any sleaze or dirt to minimise any payout, and it's not long before he uncovers a dark web of deceit and secrets.
Written and directed by an Icelandic director and filmed in Iceland with an Icelandic crew and an Anglo-American cast, 'A Little Trip To Heaven' is an unusual film in the sense that it's essentially an Icelandic film in which the story is set in an American location. The film has the feel of an early Coen brothers film like 'Blood Simple' or 'Fargo', and while the story isn't as good as those films what holds this film together is great direction and a great cast. Forest Whitaker easily pulls of the role of Abe who is almost like a softly spoken version of Columbo who keeps asking questions, hammering away until he gets at the truth and Julia stiles is equally good and the downtrodden sister. If you're looking for a film with plenty of thrills and excitement then this isn't one for you, but if you like gently paced dark thrillers in which the story slowly unfolds then this is well worth renting. If you enjoyed this you should also check out similar indie gems like 'Plain Dirty' and 'Milwaukee Minnesota'.