Friday, October 19, 2007

Angel Heart

(1987) ****

"I ain't up on all this voodoo shit- I'm from Brooklyn."

This atmospheric, noirish, horrific thriller starts off in '50s New York City. Harry Angel is a seedy private eye (with a chicken phobia!), hired by the mysterious Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to track down a man named Johnny Favorite. Johnny was a singer who owed a lot to Mr. Cyphre, and may or may not be holding out on his debt. The search takes Angel to Louisiana, where voodoo and death seem to stalk his every attempt to find out more about Johnny.

This movie is visually striking and full of little hints to the solution of the mystery. The horror impact is earned via dramatic developments rather than via gore and blood (thought there is plenty of those as well). Even very small roles are beautifully cast. I am not a Mickey Rourke fan but he was tremendous as Harry Angel. There is some nudity and one sex scene that I would argue is not gratuitous, but is thoroughly disturbing. Angel Heart is a film worth seeing more than once, but not if you have a weak stomach.


DCD said...

I love this movie! I have actually seen it more than once. We have a cd at work that has the song that plays during the sex scene w/Lisa Bonet - I can't think of the name of it - but I always think of this movie when I hear it.

JPX said...

It's because of this movie that Bill Cosby essentially fired Bonet from the Cosby show. They never had a good relationship after this film came out.

Octopunk said...

Well, screw Bill Cosby, I always say.

This movie is great. I thought of it often while watching Hellraiser 6, which attempts to rip it off.

I'mnotMarcbutmyboyfriendis said...

i bet bonet didn't even understand a word cosby was saying while he was firing her.

it probably came out as some glib nonsense like, "doot skibble oop toong." and then he made that weird tight-lipped face he's famous for.

Jordan said...

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I went completely bananas over this in college when it came out. I was delighted that Angel smoked the same brand as me (since I was a tobacco chimney in those days) and wore a big old overcoat like I did in those days. Yes, I saw Harry Angel as a fashion icon.

The construction of the movie is great, and the "hints" along the way are pretty much unmathched for that kind of thing.

Bill Cosby is a fucking idiot.

JPX said...

Marc that's one of the funniest things you've ever written!

Adam said...

The first time I saw this movie, just as I came to the realization that it's a retelling of Oedipus Rex, Louis Cyphre said, "How terrible is wisdom when it brings no profit to the wise." What a great quote.