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Intelligent thriller, suddenly timely
alnstirl-110 October 2001
Absorbing and intelligent, FOURTH ANGEL uses its London (and briefly Paris) setting skilfully to show the story of a man seeking to avenge the murder of his family by what appear to be terrorists. The film raises (lightly but thoughtfully) questions of how civilized people ought to react to outrageous attacks upon them and muses over the rights and wrongs of vigilantism. Jeremy Irons reminds us again that he is one of the best screen actors in the world; the pain and distress which he etches in his role as the bereaved father is very moving. Forest Whitaker makes the most of an underwritten part and when he and Irons come face to face in the climactic scenes they are a magnificent duo of powerful screen presences. This film will, presumably, disappear in the aftermath of September 11th events. Which is a pity since in its modest way it actually has something to say. And that's rare enough in the world of thrillers.
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Bright, thoughtful Irons film
petersimcox16 October 2003
I have appreciated Jeremy Irons since Brideshead Revisited. An actor of much skill and emotional range, he can admittedly be faulted for the occasional bizarre choice of rolls, for example the pedophile in the Lolita remake and the mad bomber in Die Hard 3, performances that surely have him waking up nights in a cold sweat. In The Fourth Angel, he takes on a semi-action role, which is not his usual casting, and yes, he pulls it off, because his character is basically a brainy journalist who stumbles into the world of shoot-em-up terrorists. If he is to survive, he must figure out how the clip goes into the AK-47 and how to work the safety, and learn it even as the killers are coming down the hall for him.

There's no secret about the plot. His wife and daughter are slaughtered by terrorists and he discovers that governments are not going to lend a hand. The way he expresses both his grief and his outrage represent his art at its peak. This film is nicely written and paced, and reminded me of Defense of the Realm. The Fourth Angel has an important role for a young male actor, who does very nicely, and features a brief but pleasing appearance by Charlotte Rampling, who has made the transition from femme fatale to middle aged woman with great grace. (She will look better to some now than she did then.)
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An intriguing thriller
LukeS3 October 2001
Although the genre (revenge thriller) is a little dated and the cast hardly A-list, this is a constantly involving film which may delight an unsuspecting audience. Jeremy Irons is not everyone's natural choice for an action hero. However, casting him as the beleaguered Jack Elgin only serves to reinforce the intelligence and sensitivity with which the film's makers construct the story of an innocent man's quest for justice. Support from Forrest Whitaker (amusing, if hackneyed), Charlotte Rampling (bizarre accent/affectation) and Jason Priestly (smarmy, slick and spot-on) enriches the drama and the little boy is fantastic.

Action sequences are sporadic and small-scale compared with big-budget American movies like Planet of the Apes and A.I. but at least The Fourth Angel has characters about whom one cares and a story that, if not wholly original, is constantly involving.

London sparkles spectacularly and the overall look of The Fourth Angel makes you wonder why other British-set films feel cheap and TVesque. The score is a little intrusive but the soundlessness of the Seventies seems a distant memory with modern films choosing to instruct the audience exactly how it should react with over-the-top strings and drums. End of rant. See The Fourth Angel.
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Just a good movie
Cargo14 April 2002
Quite a good movie actually with skilled cast and great locations. The plot and script are not really worth a lot, but it worked out for the best. If this would have been a low budget movie, it wouldn't be worth seeing it. But with this cast and director it's just a good movie. Enjoy it!
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Undertouted and underestimated
George Parker2 March 2003
"The Fourth Angel" tells of one man's quest for retribution beyond all reason as he, the protag (Irons), takes on a bunch of hijackers while trying to avoid inquiries from government agents. Typically British in its austerity of production, this flick makes for a good middle-tier drama by creating a series of believable moral and practical dilemmas to which the well portrayed protagonist must react. A satisfying though not sterling blend of action, intrigue, and human drama, "The Fourth Angel" is not a no-brainer and, considering the complexity of the intrigue over the run time, is very well managed throughout. Not for Hollywood blockbuster freaks, this little import now on cable is well worth a look for those into foreign intrigue and movies that make you think but not too much. (B)
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Great performances by Jeremy Irons and Forest Whitaker!
Movie Nuttball5 May 2004
This movie, The Fourth Angel is quite good and it has two very good role performed excellently by Jeremy Irons and Forest Whitaker! The story is good the things in it allows Irons to do a lot. In Fact he does quite a bit in the movie. His performance is very believable as it makes the viewer believe something horrible happened to his family. The terrorists are different in the film. The music is pretty good and it fits the film very well! The scenes when Irons and Whitaker are together really makes the film good and Whitaker does a very good job here. I feel he is really an underrated actor. Plus I like to see two unusual actors together in a film and see how they can make it interesting! Jason Priestley was different in this one and he performance showed Me that he can be a big star! Really the part I didn't like is the hunting scene. Other than this is a decent film! If you want to see Jeremy Irons and Forest Whitaker is superb performance then watch The Fourth Angel!
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The exterminating angel?
dbdumonteil23 November 2004
It's strange that an earnest thespian like Jeremy Irons may have agreed to play this part .There's really nothing new under the sun.The umpteenth tale of revenge -which,as everybody knows, is a dish best eaten cold-No more gangsters and make way for the terrorists .But even if the baddies change,it's the same old song.I would save only one scene: when Irons is about to kill one more guy ,he runs into his little daughter,and begins to think over ,which he apparently didn't do much before:did he only have a thought for his motherless boy?

A weird cast does not serve the movie:Jason Priestley 's pretty face is a very bad choice;Forest Whitaker cannot do anything with a hackneyed part.Charlotte Rampling a brilliant actress who could have matched Irons every step of the way is completely wasted.Consolation prize for James Bond's fans:Lois Maxwell(Miss Moneypenny) appears as the grandma.
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Good actors, bad movie
blados28 October 2002
I think the manuscript of this movie was written on the piece of toilet-paper. No respect whatsoever to many important details which intrinsically make the movie. For example, the names of some Serbian terrorists (that I remember) are Caradan Maldic, Ivanic Loyvek and Leo Hasse. What kind of names are that? Certainly not Serbian! By the way, Caradan Maldic!!! What a name, I laughed for days thinking about it. Probably an implication on Karadzic and Mladic. Secondly, there have never been any cases of terrorism done by Serbians. A journalist like the main character ought to have known that. Thirdly, the actors playing Serbian terrorists are not even Serbs nor do they speak Serbo-croatian. All this aside, this movie is solidly acted but the story is paper-thin and full of holes. At times it makes no sense whatsoever!!!
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Jeremy Irons in nearly every scene
Rogue-325 June 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Jeremy Irons plays a journalist whose wife and daughters are killed right in front him during a plane hijacking; he is left alone with his 10-year-old son and finds himself unable to deal with the fact that these hijackers are going to be getting off scott-free. Being a journalist, he uses his skills to find out where the hijackers will be and he takes it upon himself to even the score.

This is an extremely intelligent and absorbing film about a difficult subject, handled with skill and grace by everyone involved. Irons is superb, as always, incapable of making a false move; he embues Jack Elgin with a stunning mixture of rage, frailty, horror and resolve. Forest Whitaker, another brilliant actor incapable of a false move, is also used to fine advantage, as the FBI agent assigned to the case and finding himself -=- SPOILER ALERT -=- understanding and sympathizing with Elgin -=- END OF SPOILER -=-, and the appearance of the fiercely intelligent Charlotte Rampling certainly doesn't hurt.

The film is very hard to find - I bought my DVD online through JumboVideo in Canada. There's a very cool Featurette on this DVD, where everyone involved talks about the making of the film in great detail, very satisfying.
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Fragmented hijacking drama
Enrique Proto29 May 2002
I found this movie a waste of my time, and a waste of Forrest Whitaker's acting talents. Although there is a lot of good action and suspense, the plot is too fragmented and confusing to be believable.

I wonder how many script writers tried their hand at this film. The lead-character embarks on a killing-spree. WHY? was the question I asked myself continually during the movie. It went unanswered. His grief is understandable, but the resulting extreme measures are not. This could have been a very good movie, but somehow it failed to be.
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This should have been a comedy
Ornlu Wolfjarl7 February 2012
The only good thing about the movie is the acting. Everything else is a joke, the plot is full of holes and obviously the creators of the film got drunk one night, then came with the idea of making an action film copying concepts from Air Force One, Jason Bourne and a few revenge films and decided instead of doing such laughable preproduction activities such as RESEARCH and PLOT WRITING, decided to play lottery with a bunch of words written on tiny papers, and then put those together to create this... thing. It would have been a great movie if it was more of a satire, like Hot Shots! and Black Dynamite. Instead they decided to make something serious and the outcome is ridiculous. The acting is very good, but their dialogue is quite crappy and without any real sense. Irons and Whitaker do their best to deliver with emotion the words written by, obviously, a 12-year-old and you just laugh all the way. Their idea of putting the protagonist in dilemmas, where he seeks justice but it can't be delivered because of failed politics, is quite good but again, the people who were behind this messed up everything else.

To the good stuff: - Fun fact: The "Serbian" terrorists have neither Serbian names nor do they speak Serbian. There never even was a case of reported terrorism from Serbians. The writer and producer just thought that since they never cared to learn anything about Serbians, then their audience wouldn't have either and they would accept the "Serbian terrorism" story. - Fun fact: Limassol in Cyprus doesn't have an airport - Fun fact: Cyprus is not a desert and neither does it have people wearing jelabias (the white sheets that most Muslims wear) - Fun fact: Terrorism in Cyprus is inexistent.

Being from Cyprus, it was actually quite funny to watch how the British thought Cyprus was, considering they are a significant percentage of the tourists visiting the island. Great!

Short version: If you want to watch a b-movie for the laughs, then this is not bad actually. If you want to watch a real movie, don't bother.
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Why Do We Need Such Movies When We have Life?
dromasca14 December 2002
This is a movie produced before but close to 9/11, and it had to wait a few months before being released after the terror attacks. Unfortunately, the world had become since the scene of terror attacks that make the story here credible. However, the moral line of the movie is very questionable - as justifying people taking justice in their hands, in what is a very contemporary situation is not right and wise.

Anyway, as one man justice is a movie theme since Westerns era, let us look to the movie. Quite well done, even if some of the details do not really match 100% percent. The best performance is given by Forest Whitaker who is better and better in each film I see him (but watch your weight, buddy!). Jeremy Irons who is a great actor seems to be a little be embarassed to have taken a role written for Arnold or Harrison Ford.

Worth watching, but there are certainly better movies on the video rental shelves. 6/10 on my personal scale.
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more holes than a pair of fishnet stockings
steve-12978 November 2004
I can't believe some of the scores this film is getting on the IMDb website! Have I been issued with the Special Edition naff version? Edited by Dewhurst, produced by Bernard Matthews, this film should be housed in Battersea. I'm sorry for all the UK-centric references but if you're elsewhere and you've got no toenails to cut or you haven't got a beer mat collection to catalogue then this film might just be worth 90 mins of your remaining lifespan (as long as you haven't got any paint to watch drying). The plot has more holes than a pair of fishnet stockings and the direction and editing is astonishingly ham fisted. What on earth is Irons doing in this film?
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Plot FULL of Holes
neobrazovni12 January 2007
The November 15th terrorist movement alluded to in this movie as the August 15th movement was a Greek leftist organization in the 1980's. It had nothing to do with Serbs. The names of the "Serb" terrorists are not at all Serbian names. The language spoken by the terrorists is not Serbian. The writers clearly did not do their homework, it would have made more sense for the terrorists to be Greek in the first place since the hijacking takes place on Cyprus, an island claimed by both Greece and Turkey and thus a source of much conflict. I believe the writers seriously insulted the viewers' intelligence with this script. I hope the cast at least received a good paycheck for this less than impressive film.
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Rather Weak
joaocruzferreira15 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Quote from the Bible, in Revelations 16:8 : "And the Fourth Angel poured out his vial upon the sun: and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire."

On a holiday flight to India, the family of magazine editor Jack Elgin (Jeremy Irons) are involved in a hijack and killed. When the hijackers are released on a technicality, Jack goes on a one-man mission to kill the terrorists after the governmental powers that be let them go. He uses his resources at work to track them down and eliminate them on his own, bringing him to the attention of US agent, Agent Jules Bernard (Forest Whitaker).

Forest Whitaker makes the most of an underwritten part and when he and Irons come face to face in the climactic scenes they become a duo of powerful screen presences.

The acting could have been better, the direction is sloppy, the screenplay is probably something out of a badly written dime story novel, and the whole premise remarkable in that it expects us to accept this magazine editor as a guy who could somehow defeat masses of heavily armed murderers on his own. A (generous) 6/10
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great actors in unreal story
SnoopyStyle10 September 2013
Reporter Jack Elgin (Jeremy Irons) is taking his family on a plane trip, but terrorists take over and kill his wife and daughter. The Serbian terrorists mysteriously disappear with a $50 Million ransom. Nobody seems to know anything or want to help. Jack uses all his contacts to track down the terrorists and take revenge. CIA official Davidson (Jason Priestley) seems to be giving him some help. FBI Special Agent Jules Bernard (Forest Whitaker) investigates after some of the terrorists turn up dead.

The story is unrealistic and convoluted. It's very odd to see a behind the desk reporter turn into Jason Bourne. The story just doesn't pass mustard. And I wonder how many times can people simply walk away from a big shootout.
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Potential Poster Child for Bad Timing (9/11), Universal Miscasting and Zombie Plot.
Peter Ross3 December 2006
It's far too easy to heckle and hack away at creative, artistic and financial investments. But this movie is worth seeing just for its assortment of flaws. I haven't seen all the legendary flops on film but this one is certainly "bad" enough to be considered potentially "good". As in all flops though, it demonstrates just how easily so many things can go wrong on one project, so much so that perhaps it deserves the analog "Why Bad Things Happen to Perfectly Good Movies". More things actually had to go wrong to make this the legendary flop it could have been but it did have a good start. It is also worth seeing just to observe how easily the mind wanders when flaws prevail. I have to admit though that I did watch it on television while multi-tasking household chores but I was obviously impressed enough to remember its cryptic title and post this hatchet job, and my sincerest apologies to the cast, crew and producers. And damn-it, I never figured out or could read the addendum how it got its name either.
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the fourth angel
kev200317 October 2005
never seen this film yet .......

but the coach is which the gunfight happens - well i cleaned the coach up of all the fake blood(its a basket to get off Formica !!) and the blanks - the railway coach number is 70510 and is now based at the Hunsbury Hill railway museum in Northampton and has been converted in an artists studio anyway some insider info for you Kev smith director of the Hunsbury hill railway museum (NIRT)

as for the films content - i have no idea - all i know is someone gets killed etc etc - as always its a British film - some are good some are bad some are real awful, all i know is this - this coach is a celebrity
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Irons makes this a classy revenge film
Comeuppance Reviews13 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Jack Elgin (Irons) is a hardworking magazine editor. He loves his wife, son, and daughter, and he decides to combine work with a family vacation when they all fly to India. Unfortunately, terrorists hijack the plane and kill a lot of people along the way - including two members of the Elgin family. Suddenly, the genteel Elgin becomes irritated and aggressive, and has revenge on his mind. After, typically, trying all the traditional channels to get justice, he realizes the only true justice will come by his own hand. Along his road to revenge he meets CIA agent Davidson (Priestley), FBI agent Bernard (Whitaker), and reconnects with old contacts such as a woman named Kate (Rampling). Will our unorthodox hero iron out the bad guys once and for all...or will he find out he has too many IRONS in the fire? Find out today...

Before Taken (2008), Before Harry Brown (2009), before The Gunman (2015), and before the trend of what Hollywood snidely dubbed "GeriAction", we had The Fourth Angel. If a bunch of high-class British people made a Death Wish sequel in their own milieu, and instead of Charles Bronson got Jeremy Irons, The Fourth Angel would be the likely result. There's something awesome about Jeremy Irons one minute wearing white pants and a polo sweater or off pheasant hunting, and the next minute he's wearing the time-honored Revenge Jacket, speeding down the street on a motorcycle, smoking a cigarette and blowing away the bad guys with an arsenal of guns and grenades.

Director John Irvin, who has had a long and distinguished career but would be known to us and fans of the site as the director of the classic Arnie vehicle Raw Deal (1986) - no one gives Schwarzenegger a Raw Deal, just in case you forgot - and Dot.Kill (2005), does more than a solid job; he is in control of the proceedings and directs with style, excitement, and fluidity. The Fourth Angel rarely gets boring, and you really care about Jack and his son. You truly want Jack to blow the baddies to kingdom come, but with style, aplomb, and some classic British restraint.

The movie delivers the goods on a lot of levels, and is a satisfying watch. Irons is backed up well by his co-stars: Rampling has a small role but always adds something to whatever she's in, Forest Whitaker we all know has charisma and commitment, and Jason Priestley is too old to be a teenager, but too young to be a CIA agent. He's caught in the middle, age-wise, but we're glad he's here. We guessed the filmmakers thought Luke Perry would be too much of a Himbo to take on the role. So naturally they got Priestley instead.

The Fourth Angel is certainly what you would call a classy revenge film, which shows that our favorite subgenre has many flavors and varieties. Just when you think you've seen 'em all, along comes Jeremy Irons to show terrorists the true meaning of "Class Warfare"! We give a hearty recommendation to this fine film.
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Bad on just about every level
juneebuggy29 April 2015
Tried and failed to get through to the end of this. A useless script and a plot full of holes with Jeremy Irons overacting every scene he's in, and he is in all of them. It was just painful. Bad special effects too with an 80's B-grade vibe. I was surprised to see that this was made in 2003 actually, because an earlier release date would have made the quality somewhat more forgivable.

Irons plays an ordinary man here who remakes himself into a warrior after the death of his family in a terrorist attack. His methods of tracking down extremist factions and turning their own weapons against them become so impressive it attracts the attention of an FBI agent (Forest Whitaker), who has his own agenda regarding shutting down terrorists.

I will say that the terrorist plot line and death of his family was interesting just not done well. His ensuing vigilante-ism reminded me of 'Taken' although the two movies should not be compared as 'Taken' is actually a good movie. 03.13
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Not made for TV but not very good either. A movie you can watch but you wish for more.
seans_life9 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I rated this movie a 5 on IMDb. Basically there are 3 interesting parts ... the beginning of the movie where Jack Elgin, Jeremy Iron's character, loses his wife and daughter in such a horrid fashion which definitely tugs at your heart. I had tears from it. The second interesting scene was where Jack Elgin didn't know if he could trust Agent Jules Bernard, played by Forest Whitaker. Jack knew what he had done and that was do some revenge killings and he thought the agent was just looking to make him relax and confess or something of that sort but Agent Jules Bernard kept saying to him he could be trusted to help Jack. Some suspense came from that scene for sure. Lastly the final action scene where Davidson, played by Jason Priestley, thinks he is going to finish off Jack and the other guy in the car only to end up being blown up and engulfed in fire like Jack's wife and daughter were was some good justice. It could have been shot a little better but whatever.

A movie that is not in the category of a made for TV movie but it was pretty bland. I think the movie could rate lower and I may change my score one day but not sure.
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Violent Angels
wes-connors3 October 2012
European magazine editor Jeremy Irons (as Jack Elgin) takes his family along on a flight to India, where he plans to interview the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, the plane is hijacked by a terrorist gang (claimed to be Serbians). It seems like authorities get things under control, but their plan goes awry. A horrible tragedy befalls Mr. Irons and other passengers as they try to escape. When he sees justice is not being done, Irons jumps on a motorcycle and becomes a Super-Vigilante, knocking off terrorists with startling efficiency. Irons is a killing machine as well as a tender family man. Also involved are weighty FBI agent Forest Whitaker (as Jules Bernard) and suspicious CIA agent Jason Priestley (as Henry Davidson). A relatively sedate Charlotte Rampling (as Kate Stockton) dispenses advice and hints at a new family. The plot thickens with stupidity, and it ends with an explosive climax.

***** The Fourth Angel (8/15/01) John Irvin ~ Jeremy Irons, Forest Whitaker, Jason Priestley, Charlotte Rampling
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Very average
anders-rock21 October 2011
This is probably as generic as revenge movies get. It starts out OK. Our hero, played by Jeremy Irons, loses most of his family in a plane hijacking and the terrorists get away with it without trial. Irons plays the angry protagonist well and you feel his emotional turmoil. But after he kills the first couple of bad guys it goes downhill. The middle of the movie is really slow and kind of boring. Only the performances of Irons and Forest Whitaker (whose character was not that great on paper) held my interrest. I never really got who the villains were. Some sort of Serbian terrorists with connections to the CIA and that's a big problem in a revenge flick. You're supposed to rut for the hero all the way and that's not easy if you don't really know what he is up against. The few action scenes were nothing special either. They were not really bad but it was fairly standard shootouts. The plot really tried to be smart and intriguing but it just ended up predictable and half assed. This was just a very hollow movie.
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