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Harry Angel has a new case, to find a man called Johnny Favourite. Except things aren't quite that simple, and Johnny doesn't want to be found. Let's just say that, amongst the period detail and beautiful scenery, it all gets really, really nasty. Written by
David Carroll <email@example.com>
I was stunned at what this film did to me. An absolutely brilliant display of psychological horror. Alan Parker made the scariest film of the eighties, maybe the scariest film of the second half of the century with this picture. The hell with "Psycho", "Angel Heart" is where it's at if you want horror.
I don't know how Parker hasn't become the Hitchcock of his generation after this film. I know some of his other work - "Evita" and Mississippi Burning" are two films of his that I happen to think are pretty good. But they're nothing like this. What Parker does so well here, what he seems to get better than any other director I've noticed since this film was made, is how atmosphere makes a movie. He has a real sense of place and time that's a key component to making the terror of this movie real.
Aside from Parker's talents, there are three performances without which the movie just wouldn't work.
Robert de Niro gives the second best performance of his career here, right next to "Raging Bull", and even that's pretty close. I'm not even normally a huge fan of de Niro's - I mean, don't get me wrong, he's a legend, but I find most of the time that I'm less impressed with him than most people are. Not here. In this movie, de Niro makes the simple act of eating an egg into a treatise on mortal dread. He should have received the Oscar for this performance, no question about it.
Lisa Bonet - what happened to her? Every couple of years I'll see her in something like this or "High Fidelity", and she's got all this charisma - she really is a superb actress. What she does here is really interesting because you can see that it's very underdone, a lot of subtlety. Which is a strange way to go if you're playing a voodoo priestess. But she's very vulnerable here. I think it's a shame she didn't become the star she could have. I'd love to see more work from her.
Mickey Rourke is another resident of the "Where are they now?" file. I've heard more from him recently though. He's been making a comeback of sorts. He's actually the primary reason I rented this movie, because I saw him in Sean Penn's "The Pledge" and wanted to see more of his stuff. He's the third performance that makes this movie complete, and he's the one who really has the hardest job, who has to strap it to his back and get it across the finish line. His is also the most important job, because he needs to instill the terror in you. It's through his eyes that you witness these bizarre events, and it's his reaction that makes it all the more terrifying.
Again, brilliant. Can't say enough about it. The last thirty seconds or so kind of sucks (those of you who've seen it know what I'm referring to), but I can just turn it off before that. Oddly, it doesn't ruin what's come before.
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