Harry Angel has a new case: to find a man called Johnny Favorite. 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After the end credits roll, you hear the whisper on a black screen, "Harry? Johnny?" See more »
Curiously, the sex and violence did not offend the British Board of Film Classification, but a scene of a cockfight did, and 4 secs were duly removed from both cinema and video versions. This cockfight has been seen in a heavily edited US TV version screened in the UK on ITV. See more »
Matures with age and grows on audiences and film connoisseurs alike!
I'm glad I caught this because what was seen by many as a poor film in 1987 can only be seen as great film in 2007. Angel Heart is one of those films that matures with age and grows on audiences and film connoisseurs alike. A psychological horror/thriller is one of the hardest genres for a director to prosper in but if you were to mix in spiritual and religious elements along with a heap of film noir, a touch of romance and a smidgen of jazz then you would set yourself a near impossible task, nevertheless it would be a task in which Alan Parker would succeed.
The direction of this film is masterful as Parker engages us through a meticulous atmosphere littered with mysterious allegories, gut rendering paranoia and an unmatched sense of place. This unmatched sense of place is a symptom of his stark imagery and sombre lighting which is played out through an amalgamation of film noir and the focal iconography of 50s and 60s French New Wave (the use of elevators, ceiling fans, staircases etc).
For many of these reasons and more Angel Heart is a very influential film and its inspirations can be seen in many of the psychological thrillers/horrors released in the past 20 years, it is thought provoking and at times a lot more disturbing than any of its genre equivalents. The multi-faceted love scene in the film is one such example, it plays very well as it is cleverly interspersed with a host demonic echelons which (given its style and narrative position) I believe to be unparallelled, even in contemporary cinema.
Overall Angel Heart is a very well paced and well acted film although initially I felt that having Mickey Rourke in the lead role was a poor choice (based on his more recent work) but clearly he was at his acting best in his younger days almost Oscar-worthy, Robert De Niro is also on form as is the young Lisa Bonet but these performances combined with everything else make Angel Heart a film that will stick with you, not as much as Midnight Express or Mississippi Burning (dir. Alan Parker), but enough to make you ponder why this film wasn't so successful upon its initial release and enough to curse why he didn't spend more time dabbling in the psychological/horror genre.
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