Angel Heart (DVD)
In Alan Parker's ANGEL HEART, based on the novel FALLING ANGEL by William Hjortsberg, a New York City gumshoe is hired to find an aging blues singer. ...
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Review of "Angel Heart (DVD)"
musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, thinker of deep thoughts, quantum spanner, zenarchist. People have woken up to worse.
Harry Angel (Mickey Rouke) is that cliche down at heal private detective who is offered a large rate of pay to look for a missing big band singer, Johnny Favorite. His client is the mysterious Louis Cyphre (Robert DeNiro) an elegant and sinister benefactor whose motives dont become apparent until the end of the film. Angel follows up various leads but some other force is at work, all of the people he needs to interview, or who he comes involved with meet a violant death in a ritualistic act of murder. As each murder takes place Angel slowly realises the truth of what is going on and the nightmare that he is caught up in, and the reasons for Cyphres interest in a has been singer. Its difficult to give more of the plot away with out spoiling the whole movie as its one of those sixth sense type thrillers, and the last thing you want me to give away is Angel Hearts equivilant of "he was dead all along", sorry to those who havent seen sixth sense.Angel Heart is set in the 50s in the deep south of the United States and the bleak and down beat backgrounds give the film a distinctive look, that matches the plot line. The poverty of the towns and back waters that Harry Angel finds himself in and the strange characters he encounters all add to a menace and dispair which give the film its flavour. There is a sense of frustration about the film as it gives very little away until it has to, and you can empathise with Angel as he seems to be kept from knowing whats going on until the full realisation of the events comes crashing down on him. The films editing keeps you on your seats as it flits around quickly and jumps between flash backs and current events, and often its difficult to know if your in the past, the present or in Angels imagined version of events.
Rourke is splendid in the role of the crumpled and cynical New Yorker, wise cracking his way through the deep south, looking every inch the world weary gumshoe. DeNiros role is minimal and fairly beneath him, limited in scope but he looks majestic in the part none the less. It is a role that I feel could have been made more of considering the talents of the man cast in place. Lisa Bonnett is also very convincing as a waifish voodoo princess, fragile on the one hand and with an inner strength and wisdom on the other.There is an evil cloud that hangs over the film, a dark mystery that weaves its way through every scene, an evil with a human face, controlling the events that Angel is caught up in, to the point where you feel he is a mere puppet to some higher force, finding out only what he is allowed to.
Its not a film big on action, special affects or dramatic stunts, its reward lies in the plot and the portrayals of the ugly and downbeat side of life and the brutal nature of humanity. For lovers of thrillers and horror, this film will be a worthy investment in time, and it may surprise those who normally avoid the genre. falling between detective, thriller, voodoo and murder, it has elements of all and is woven together into a brooding and dark cult classic.
Product Information : Angel Heart (DVD)
Manufacturer's product descriptionIn Alan Parker's ANGEL HEART, based on the novel FALLING ANGEL by William Hjortsberg, a New York City gumshoe is hired to find an aging blues singer. Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) follows clues from the ominous ghettos of Harlem to the witchy backwoods of Louisiana, where he takes up with Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet), the beautiful young daughter of a voodoo priestess, whom he believes will be able to shed light on the growing mystery surrounding the missing musician. As Angel closes in on the truth of the case, his contacts start turning up dead. He begins to suspect he might be next.<BR>Parker (MISSISSIPPI BURNING) threads a commentary on the limitations of modern Western society into his sensual, suspenseful thriller. As the story unfolds, Angel relies less and less on his failing, overwhelmed rational mind (and handgun) and more on Epiphany's ancient mojo. Rourke captures the unraveling protagonist perfectly, and Bonet adds an erotic and mysterious edge with her performance. Robert De Niro is both funny and malevolent as Angel's mysterious client, Louis Cyphre. Shimmering with a beguiling mist of the macabre, ANGEL HEART provides an unexpectedly haunting dose of gothic noir.
Listed on Ciao since: 10/09/2000