Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Angel Heart is one of those odd films that has somehow lived on through the years despite it not being very good. It is almost mythical for the ruining of an American sweetheart Lisa Bonet from the Cosby Show. The nudity and sex scene she has later on in the film seem to be the sole reason why anyone remembers this Alan Parker film. Rumors were about too that the scene wasn't simulated... always one of those every few years in the urban myth variety. On to the movie...
Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) gets a visit from a potential client (Robert DeNiro) one day. Angel is more accustomed to finding cheating husbands than missing persons, but Cyphre (DeNiro) wants him to track down an old singer who has gone missing. Not much of an explanation or reason why just a thread to start with. Essentially this turns into a series of meetings Angel has with various associates of the singer that ultimately end with them showing up deceased. Angel feels a constant pressure to solve the mystery before he joins them in the morgue. Throw in an old girlfriend (Lisa Bonet showing up a long ways in) of the singer who seems to practice voodoo and you've got a glossy trash film noir.
Director Alan Parker has always been an overrated hack with far too heavy of a hand for me to take. Midnight Express got a lot of attention and probably is the only reason he was still making films by the time he got to Angel Heart. Parker would follow this trash up with an undenialable masterpiece Mississippi Burning. It was tough for him to mess that one up just as it is too much for him to elevate this material above standard genre crud. Much later on, Parker would do a string of so-so films culminating with Angela's Ashes and the godawful The Life of David Gale.
Bonet is extremely hot and underused, much like a walk on by British actress Charlotte Rampling. Of course, there is Mickey Rourke who has always been one of the finest actors working depending on how he feels about the film he is in. Here is seems to be trying to make the best of what he has got. Film noir is something Rourke was born to play, tis a pity he couldn't find a better script to do. The interviews with Rourke on the DVD lead you to believe his heart was never in this film and was more into his boxing around this time. I can't figure out for the life of me what DeNiro was doing here... and all the extras seem to point to the fact that he wanted nothing to do with it afterwards.
I'm giving this an average grade and you have to understand, without Bonet and Rourke, this would get a 0.