Friday, October 19, 2007

Angel Heart

Angel Heart; Horror-thriller, USA, 1987; D: Alan Parker, S: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Lisa Bonet, Charlotte Rampling, Stocker Fontelieu, Brownie McGhee, Kathleen Wilhoite

New York, '55. Private detective Harry Angel, who can't remember his childhood, gets the assignment to track down a singer called Johnny. His customer is the bizarre Louis Cypher who is willing to pay 5.000 $ for that assignment. Angel discovers Johnny's doctor, but he is quickly found dead in bed. Angel's trip leads him to a small town where he meets a musician and a young woman, but the next day they too are found dead. According to rumors, a Black girl, Epiphany, is Johnny's daughter, and Angel spends a steamy night with her. The next day Louis shows up as Lucifer. Angel realizes he is actually Johnny, but that he couldn't remember it because he had amnesia, and that he sold his soul to the Devil for a career.

Terrifying and creepy thriller that starts as a film noir and ends as a horror in which the forces of evil triumph, "Angel Heart" caused a substantial scandal during it's premiere: the biggest controversy lied in the intercourse sequence between Mickey Rourke and Lisa Bonet (which was a big detachment from her role in the family friendly "The Cosby Show") in which at one point even blood starts leaking from the walls, but looking at it from today's perspective it doesn't seem that "shocking" anymore. The real flaws are one dimensional supporting characters, Bonet included, who don't create a real spark while the incorporation of such elements as Voodoo seem quite arbitrarily, contrived and useless. The final twist towards the end is genius, but frankly it has a few plot holes - for instance, why did Louis Cypher send the main protagonist, detective Angel, on a wild goose chase in the first place? In the bizarre list of Hollywood occult films revolving around Satan, for what ever reason, "Angel Heart" is among the better contributions, maybe even due to the fact that Robert De Niro delivered a "good" performance as the ultimate evil creature, in one scene grotesquely eating a egg that "serves as a symbol for the soul". There are also excellent details present, like when Angel notices that a document apparently written in ink in '43 is false because a ball-point pen wasn't invented back then or the powerful, eerie mood, which elevate the film's impression.


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