When I was working for an RKO Radio station, we
organized a weekend in the Cayman islands for our
loyal listeners. While there was no nightlife per se,
the trip was full of daytime adventure involving
submarine rides, snorkeling with the stingrays and
swimming up to a poolside bar and downing pina
coladas. This was a heavenly experience until it was
time to fly home. At which point, two people in our
party were caught smoking marijuana in the airport.
Our plane was delayed for three hours. The suspects
were stripped searched and there was talk that the
plane was going to be searched.
This tough law enforcement in 1989 revealed a strong
message about the use of recreational drugs and international relations.
Almost twenty years later, the politics of drug use seems to have been marginalized in a recently released DVD titled "Haven." Written and
directed by Cayman islander Frank E. Flowers, "Haven" is a
character study about the different levels of Cayman
society. The trailer for this movie is misleading,
"Haven" is not an action packed treasure hunt, but is
a character study that contains moments of painful violence.
Orlando Bloom portrays Shy, a local who is involved
in love affair with a crime lord's daughter, Andrea (Zoe Saldana).
While the race issue does not to seem to be much of a
factor, the caste system of the island it, Shy is
beneath the financial strata of Cayman crime lord.
Miami is represented by Carl Ridley (Bill Paxton), a middle
aged financial wizard who is being investigated by the
Treasure Department. Ridley and his daughter Pippa (Agnes Bruckner)
exile themselves to the Cayman islands While Dad
attempts to figure out a strategy for dealing with the
IRS, his daughter joins the party scene with
The Cayman culture is presented as a leisurely paced
community and so is pace of this the motion picture. When violence
does erupt, it is instantaneous and shocking. There
are shootings, but there is also social maiming and
branding that is more shocking.
Orlando Bloom must have shot this film on the weekends when working
on his "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy. In contrast to his Errol
Flynn heroics, Bloom reveals a darker side to his populist image. The
actor pulls it off, making Shy a romantic leading man who falls from grace.
To appreciate "Haven," watch it on a lazy Sunday afternoon while sipping a pina colada.
"Haven" captures the darkness of the island that I missed in June of 1989.