If some hearty, masochistic soul someday builds a Miscasting Hall Of Fame, Orlando Bloom's jaw-dropping Haven turn as a disfigured, dirt-poor, formerly mute Cayman Island rude boy nicknamed "Shy" merits its own exhibit. Bloom's tormented role calls for Method chops and striking magnetism, but Bloom is too much of a callow, featherweight pretty-boy to come across as anything but ridiculous. Then again, Bloom, who also co-produced the film, isn't alone in being comically overmatched. Writer-director Frank E. Flowers apparently set out to make a gritty, intricate Traffic-like ensemble drama about the desperate, scheming characters who flock to the Cayman Islands, but he can't keep his material from veering into the overwrought realm of trashy nighttime soap operas.
Flowers' flashy melodrama begins with shady businessman Bill Paxton fleeing the United States one step ahead of the law, alongside daughter Agnes Bruckner, who boasts all the talent, looks, and gloomy charisma of Scarlett Johansson at a fraction of the price. But before that intriguing storyline can be developed, Flowers essentially abandons it for a full hour to focus on the infinitely less compelling star-crossed romance between Bloom and the sheltered, virginal daughter (Zoe Saldana) of a prominent black family. After Bloom deflowers Saldana, her mercurial brother (Anthony Mackie) scalds Bloom's face with acid to register his disapproval, leading to a revenge-saturated third act that circles inevitably back to the beginning.
Haven boasts a fascinating, photogenic setting in the Caymans, a sunny place for shady people where the locals have learned not to ask too many questions about the cash-rich foreigners in their midst. And the film boasts compelling performances—from Bruckner, and especially from Stephen Dillane as a wildly pragmatic money-man who radiates well-deserved cynicism. But Bloom is the giant void at the center of the film, and his laughable histrionics pull Haven firmly into camp territory. Flowers' deeply schizophrenic potboiler aspires to be Pulp Fiction with tropical scenery and tax shelters. Instead, it feels like a pretentious version of the misbegotten Paul Walker vehicle Into The Blue, minus the formidable consolation of Jessica Alba in a bikini.