North of Nowhere

South Of Heaven 
Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Evangeline Lilly, Mike Colter, Shea Whigham, Jeremy Bobb, Michael Pare, Amaury Nolasco and Thaddeus J. Mixon
Director: Aharon Keshales
Scriptwriters: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado and Kai Mark
Composer: David Fleming
Cinematography: Matt Mitchell
Arts District/RLJE Films
Rating: R for violence and themed material
Running length: 119 Minutes 

Jason Sudeikis is on a roll now, with a popular television series in which he portrays a soccer coach in London named Ted Lasso. In-between television work comes Sudeikis’ newest film. “South Of Heaven,” in which he portrays a convict with a faithful girlfriend, Annie (Evangeline Lilly from "Ant-Man and the Wasp") Now, comes a chance at a new life. Unfortunately, things aren’t always what they seem, and in the movie, can anything go right? It is a comedy of dark humor and what happens may surprise the audience. This is not soccer. You may never look at a birthday cake the same way again. 

As the plot goes, Jimmy (Sudeikis) has served 12 years in prison and is paroled because of the terminal illness of his longtime girlfriend, Annie. Jimmy now has a job, intends to walk the straight and narrow road and give Annie the best year she ever had. However, Fate has other ideas, and there is a corrupt parole officer who literally slithers from scene to scene (Shea Whigham from "Fargo"). Jimmy is asked to be a go-between for only one job (really?) and you know from then on, all Hades breaks loose. Enter a drug kingpin (smoothly played by Mike Colter from "The Good Fight" and Colter’s young son, Tommy (Thaddeus J. Mixon using profane language a drill sergeant would envy and stealing his scenes). What now? A year can be a long time or a short time and the clock is ticking. 

Jason Sudeikis takes the role of Jimmy and goes from calm and quiet to violent without changing the expression on his face. Prison must have been quite a learning experience. The persona of Jimmy is not that of a violent person, but there is a corner of his mind that clicks in like James Bond coming out of retirement in “No Time To Die.”  Evangeline Lilly’s “Annie,” could charm anyone with her pixie cut and white hair, and looks like an angel throughout. However, she can do action, too. 

With the entry of each new character, you realize the story is going downhill in Jimmy’s life.  Just how much can a guy take. The audience might think they are in a maze at times, and the unexpected is a jolt.  Several things I did not expect. The story is told through a series of vignettes that sometimes are tied together and sometimes not. There is a lot of material to cover, and just when you think there is a bit of depth coming into play, away we go on another angle.  I think “South of Heaven” could have made a TV series rather than a movie. This would give the audience time to ponder each scene. 


Copyright 2021 Marie Asner