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Angel of Death More at IMDbPro »Semana Santa (original title)

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Promising Beginning, Awful Development, Terrible Conclusion

5/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
30 December 2006

In Seville, the newcomer detective Maria Delgado (Mira Sorvino) arrives during the Holy Week and is assigned to work with detectives Quemada (Olivier Martinez) and Torillo (Féodor Atkine) in the bizarre murder of twins, killed with several bullfighter knives. Maria interviews the old lady Ms. Catalina (Alida Valli), who found the bodies, while a tourist is attacked on the streets by a masked guy with a bullfighter knife. The trio connects the cases and follows the lead to a brotherhood. The director of the brotherhood is also killed by a knife, and Maria follows her instinct and visits Ms. Catalina again in a convent. Ms. Catalina discloses her sad adolescence when Spain was in Civil War and Maria gets closer to the truth.

When I saw the names of Mira Sorvino and Alida Valli, I did not hesitate and bought this DVD. The story has a promising beginning, with a weird death and decomposed corpses that recalled me "Seven", and I was expecting a good dark movie. Unfortunately, director Pepe Danquart did not take any care in developing the characters, and his only concern seems to be a tourist travel through the beautiful Seville in the "Semana Santa". Therefore, the motives of each character are very confused, leading the movie to a terrible conclusion. Mira Sorvino seems to be upset most of the time, and the DVD distributed in Brazil is awfully dubbed in English. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Anjo da Morte" ("Angel of the Death")

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

The Story Went Where?

1/10
Author: aristides-1 from United States
11 April 2005

I could not, for the life of me, follow, figure out or understand the story. As the plot advances it too stays incomprehensible. I'm going to guess and say that there was a preproduction story/plot problem that never got sorted out. The producers could never separate the many details that the novel, or any novel, has the time and space to create from the other idea, which was to make a movie about a serial killer and the killer's pursuit by the police. They ended up with too many things happening in a proscribed feature film time limit. Too bad really because they had a solid cast, a director who knows how to move things around and excellent cinematography. In fact, a well made movie that one could enjoy and relax with for a couple of hours.

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13 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Stinkbombs

1/10
Author: Johnnieb-2 from Bangor, Maine
13 February 2005

When we were in junior high school, some of us boys would occasionally set off stinkbombs. It was considered funny then. But the producers, directors and cast of "Semana Santa" ("Angel of Death" in the DVD section of your local video rental) are adults and they are STILL setting them off.

Like the previous reviewer who wondered if the cast were anxious to get off the set and home, I doubt more than one take was done for any of the scenes.

Mira Sorvino, hot in "Mighty Aphrodite" and other top-rated films, seems to have undersold herself to this project. Her acting is non-existent, confined mostly to wistful stares that are supposed to indicate how "sensitive" she is to the plight of the film's various victims.

But let me warn you--do not be the next victim! Step away from the DVD if you find it on the shelf. Tbere are not many good leg shots of Mira (the only high points I could find in the film) and the supporting cast is of inferior quality, delivering a mishmash of badly-done dialogue with embarrassing "Spanish" accents worthy of the best high school theatrical production.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Garbage. More fun at the Dentist and i dont mean the Corbin Bernsen flick.

2/10
Author: JackBravo69 from Casablanca
6 November 2003

I saw this movie for a number of reasons the main being Mira Sorvino. With her on the cast it couldn't be so bad. And it even seemed like it had some mystery and Olivier Martinez was her boyfriend at the time and he was pretty good in `Unfaithful'. The story is set in Spain so it could be an exotic entertaining movie with one of my favorite actresses.

If you're thinking about the same thing let me warn you: this is a truly awful, uninteresting, boring movie. The only adjective that comes to mind is pathetic.

The story is contrived with sub-plots that add nothing to the narrative. They try to build a slasher/thriller with a look at fascism in Spain but fail horribly. The twists have no credibility and the so-called investigation leads nowhere.

The characters are paper-thin! I didn't care about anyone. More than that they're irritating and pretty hateful people.

The acting is atrocious. Mira what is wrong with you? Why Mira? You're an oscar winner! Keep some dignity! Her character was weak but that is no excuse for such an awful performance. She seems to be sleepwalking all movie long. Come to think of it, I actually think I saw her eyes slowly closing in some scenes. I used to think this woman was sexy. Well she isn't here. If you want to look at some skin try Romi and Michelle because there's nothing to see here. And that accent? My god...

Olivier Martinez is even worst. It's too painful to remember his performance to describe it here. Im sorry but I can´t. Ive suffered enough with this garbage.

This whole movie is depressing! It's so bad in every way it's a wonder how it was even made. A lousy team to produce a lousy script and make some money over the actor's name. Don't fall for it.

Avoid it!

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

I don't understand all the hate directed at this movie

6/10
Author: bensonmum2 from Tennessee
26 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm shocked by all the negative reviews I've read on Angel of Death now that I've seen it. My rating of a 6/10 almost makes me look like a fanboy in comparison with what most people seem to think about Angel of Death. It may not be the best movie ever made, but it's certainly better than the garbage others seem to be labeling it. Take the criticisms I've seen leveled against Mira Sorvino. The charge – Sorvino sleepwalks through her performance. What these people call sleepwalking I tend to view as a nice, understated performance that works for me. It's like the old adage – one man's trash is another man's treasure.

The plot centers on a series of brutal murders being committed during the Spanish Holy Week celebrations in Seville by a red-hooded monk. Through their investigations, Sorvino and her compatriots discover a back-story of rape and greed dating back to the time of the Spanish Civil War. Sorvino must find the killer before she becomes the latest victims. This plot is, perhaps, the movies weakest point. It's interesting enough, but it's far too involved to completely explore in a roughly 90 minute movie. There are a few subplots that go nowhere and much is left to the viewer to figure out.

In many respects, Angel of Death seems to be an attempt to revive or at least revisit the European or Giallo thrillers of the past. A black-gloved hooded killer, a convoluted plot, beautiful cinematography, and violent death scenes all hearken to the glory days of the Euro-thriller. It's a shame this movie wasn't more well received because I would have enjoyed seeing more of this kind of film.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Generalísimo Franco's evil children

7/10
Author: Christian Kessler from Gelsenkirchen, Germany
9 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For the life of me I cannot explain why this film has received such hostile comments. Actually, I expected not much when I rented this. The presence of Mira Sorvino led me to think that this might be just another cheapo US horror flick shot in Europe. Not so. In fact, I found it to be a modest, yet highly effective little murder thriller set against the background of picturesque Seville, very much reminiscent of 70s giallo cinema and 70s Spanish thriller movies. It is a film that primarily deals with destroyed families - two of the cops were robbed of their loved ones, and the great Alida Valli (in one of her last roles) plays an old widow who stems from a highly respected family that has also fallen apart. The villains of the piece - and no, this is not really a spoiler! - are monsters from the days of the Spanish Civil War - a degenerated family in themselves. The story unfolds at a slow pace, but a clever and moody screenplay (that is totally devoid of the inane babbling that spoils so many of today's b-horror movies) makes the characters quite interesting and unusual. Throw in a few giallo murders and good photography, and what we have is a charmingly old-fashioned, moody piece of cinema. It is definitely not to be mistaken for a a-murder-a-reel horror shocker, but if one has a sweet tooth for slow, morbid thrillers, it should prove worthwhile. It's maybe not one the same level as Guillermo del Toro's THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, but what a nice surprise it was...

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

What happened???

1/10
Author: jeca66 from United States
3 February 2005

I agree with the previous comment, what a disappointment. Rented it thinking it was going to be a good movie since Mira and Olivier where in it. I was surprised by their performance, expected more since they're good actors.

Thought it was a slow beginning but it got worse. I even laughed at some bad stunts!! when is supposed to be a mystery movie. You can even guess who is the killer beforehand!!!

For real what happened??

Sorry to say but don't even bother you'll waste time and money.

Boring!!!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Pity there Is No Way to Vote -0-

1/10
Author: rsternesq from United States
4 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This may actually be the worst movie that I have ever seen. Incoherent would be a compliment. Even the end made no sense but it was a tremendous relief that it was finally over. I watched it with a kind of fatalistic fascination to see if it could continue to deteriorate and it did. By the end of this mess I was sorry any of the characters survived and I wasn't feeling too charitable about the actors either.If you want to watch a train wreck, I recommend hanging out at a train station. Even waiting on a deserted train platform beats this mess. Apparently I haven't vented enough to fill up my prescribed ten lines so, at the risk of redundancy, I will say it one more time. This movie is a zero and it would be less if I had a word for an even lower rating. How about minus zero?

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Lots of Power but much less PUNCH

6/10
Author: storyteller912 from Amarillo, Texas
18 September 2005

This movie has lots going for it. I only wish it had come together better.

Several of the performances are subtle and command our full attention. Alida Valli is stark and quietly brilliant as Dona Katrina as she tells her gripping tale from the war. Feodor Atkine is both confused and valiant as he searches for answers to the murders committed by the man in red. While other roles are too subtly played or bungled entirely. Mira Sorvino is adequate as the reflective outsider who is haunted by her past. Olivier Martinez, gives a one dimensional and overplayed role as the tough cop, solving crimes on the mean streets of Sevilla.

The cinematography is rife with scenes from Sevilla's rich historic architecture and the contrasts in light and shadow give this film a brooding quality. Filming from various angles during the Easter pageant lends depth as the police narrowly miss observing the murders first hand and totally miss their motive. The action scenes however, often appear as if happening in some other story and don't fully connected to the movement of the plot.

I did find this film worth watching to the end if only to find out "who dun-nit". Watch it when you are feeling somber and a little confused.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Solid Murder Mystery

7/10
Author: kjs-2 from Chicago
10 June 2005

The only thing special about this film may be the very human everyday interactions between the characters in this film. An important scene might have a little glance or aside that only tells of the place and the people but have no real impact on the story. Mia Sorvino along with the other actors and even the walk-on extras just feel real and utterly regular in the skins that they occupy on screen. 99% of movies do not succeed as well as this one when it comes to that pervasive "REALITY" feeling.

Yes the pacing could have been better. Yes you might be lost if you don't pay attention to each plot revelation. Yes you might not be surprised at all by how the story turns out. But this is a beautiful film in its grounded feeling, the acting, and the little things outside of the main focus which give life to the world and its characters.

Not original at all but great acting and good direction makes for a hidden gem in my opinion.

-Karl

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