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Resumé Copy Writing 'Angel Heart' a Fallen Angel
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  Angel Heart
  1987
  Universal
   
If Angel Heart could have kept its plot moving instead of saving it all for the last three minutes, it might have been forgiven its meandering train of Mickey Rourke scene-stealers and taken its place next to real noir classics like Chinatown.

Granted, watching Rourke pull his rumpled charm on a wide assortment of interesting characters in one of the most authentically 1950's landscapes ever captured on film is nearly worth the price of admission. As a vehicle for Rourke, it is supreme even, to Nine and a Half Weeks. He drives it around like a beat-up '57 Chevy and drag races it up and down the lane for our pleasure. But just as drag races are, in the end, somewhat pointless journeys that go nowhere, so too does Angel Heart fall short of greatness.

Private dick, Harry Angel, played by Rourke, is hired by a mysterious fat-cat to find an ex-crooner over an unpaid debt. So begins Angel's journey into 1950’s Harlem and then New Orleans. He toughs through a number of sordid, romantic, and violent situations with dash and humanity. Who is the man Angel's after and why?

You will probably stop caring and become more focused on the sheer texture of the film -- that is in addition to Rourke's considerable screen presence. Indeed, atmosphere is the uncredited supporting role in this movie and it is an Oscar-worthy performance. So rich is it that supporting performances by Lisa Bonet and the legendary Robert DeNiro are overshadowed utterly.

And then the story hits a wall as the end is unveiled in the dumbest way possible for a movie -- a long-winded and confusing monologue that no one can keep straight the first time. Any true fan of noir and mystery enjoys a truly chilling and twisty ending, even if they’ve invested nearly two hours. But to have it delivered in as confusing and slap-dash a manner as this  leaves us feeling more bewildered than anything else. When we should be savoring a truly twisted denouement, we’re distracted by the how and the why.

Any fan of noir and Mickey Rourke will not NOT like this film. But it had all the ingredients of a respected classic, too. In addition to the tragically flawed resolution, it focuses on too many of the wrong things. Long on style and a little short on substance -- perhaps a product of its age: the late '80s.

And Mickey Rourke, too, showed all the signs of becoming the next Jack Nicholson instead of the muscle-bound caricature of a Hollywood bad-boy that he's become. What happened?

Maybe it was bad scripts. The Year of the Dragon and Nine and a Half Weeks, were both almost really good films about real people but each kind of got lost somewhere in the middle.

So does Angel Heart.

Pity.
 
Angel Heart a Fallen Angel by Erik Gloor
     
 
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