Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL Reviewed on 8/30/2014...
A friend recommended this movie about 25 years ago and finally getting to see it. Although it is that old it is good. It wasn't really what I expected but I couldn't have handled what I expected. Mickey Rourke was very handsome then. Check out Robert De Niro's nails, creepy.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 06/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an intriguing, unusual, beautifully directed, highly atmospheric film that successfully crosses any number of genre: film noir, thriller, mystery, and horror. The plot is simple. In the mid nineteen fifties, a mysterious and slightly sinister business man, Louis Cypher (Robert De Niro), hires Brooklyn gumshoe, Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke), for a missing person case. Angel's investigation, for which he is being paid a princely sum for the time, takes him from Harlem to New Orleans, as he looks for a former crooner named Johnny Favorite, who sometime during the early nineteen forties apparently welched on a business deal with Louis Cypher and hasn't been heard from since. What happens when Angel gets to New Orleans will be infused with voodoo rites, ritual murders and taboo sex. The Big Easy is hardly that for our erstwhile detective, as he becomes susceptible to a series of initially puzzling flashbacks. Moreover, it seems that everyone with whom he meets, who had a connection to our missing crooner, ends up being savagely murdered. When he meets with a tarot card reader (Charlotte Rampling), it is just the beginning of the end for our increasingly disheveled gumshoe. His introduction to the gorgeous Epiphany (Lisa Bonet), a seventeen year old voodoo queen, later leads to a coupling that is played with singularly wild abandon. Both of these women have a connection to our mysterious missing person, Johnny Favorite, who, it turns out, may have given the Devil a run for his money in the evil department. Robert De Niro is sensational in the highly stylized, role of Louis Cypher. He imbues the role with just the right amount of sardonic humor and restrained menace so as to make the character memorable. De Niro leaves an indelible imprint on every scene in which he is in. Mickey Rourke, who is in nearly every scene in this film, shows that he has the ability to carry a movie, as he is simply terrific as the private detective who is slowly unraveling. As the film progresses, the toll that the investigation is taking on the tormented Angel is evident on his face. Angst ridden, bleary eyed, and disheveled, Angel is definitely involved in the biggest case of his life. As he gets closer to the truth of what happened to Johnny Favorite, the more his life seems to be spinning out of control. Rourke manages to convey all this, no easy task. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent and adds to the flavor of this delicious gumbo of a film, which is reminiscent of Goethe's Faust. Undoubtedly, this film is one of Alan Parker's best directorial efforts. Bravo!"
Excellent Unconventional Detective Tale
Sara | OK, USA | 12/05/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the greatest aspects about this film (to me) is that it is not quite a horror film, not quite a straight supernatural thriller and not totally a gritty detective movie either. It has elements of all three but does not stay consistently with the theme of any. The critics who called it "provocative and original" were correct because if nothing else, _Angel Heart_ is indeed those two things.On the surface, the plot seems simple. A private investigator named Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is hired by Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to find a big band singer from the 1940s, Johnny Favorite. Angel is hesitant at first but he accepts the job because it pays well. From the beginning of the investigation, Angel learns that Favorite must have had plenty of secrets to hide. I don't want to give too much of the plot away so if you want to watch the film without knowing much about its twists and turns, don't read on. Anyhow, it seems that Favorite had powerful friends who took him out of the hospital he was staying at after the war and he disappeared. Because he had been badly injured, his face was still in bandages when he left so it was possible that Johnny didn't even look like Johnny anymore. As Angel probes deeper and deeper, dead bodies begin to pile up and Angel gets involved with Epiphany (Lisa Bonet), a voodoo priestess who could well be underhandedly included in a diabolical scheme with Favorite. In the film, Angel leaves New York for New Orleans to learn more about the occult practices Favorite was part of. This differs from the novel in which the setting stays in New York throughout. By the last twenty minutes of the film, the audience will discover the dark truth about Johnny Favorite at the same time (or maybe before if you've been paying attention) Angel does. Mickey Rourke does an excellent job of portraying Harry Angel and Robert De Niro, though not an obvious choice for bringing to life the book's version of Louis Cyphre, is fantastic. De Niro plays Cyphre with such skill that even if you find the supernatural premise to be hokey or contrived, you will feel intimidated by his commanding prowess. As one reviewer already mentioned, the cinematography is excellent. The setting, lighting, and lack of bright, vibrant colors give the film a dark, noir feeling that it retains all the way through. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys trying to crack how movies will end, anyone who likes detective stories and anyone with an interest in the supernatural."
Worthy Blu-Ray release of this excellent, and little known 8
Martin Andersen | Bergen, Norway | 12/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Film: 5.0/5.0; Video: 4.0/5.0; Audio: 3.5/5.0
Obviously due to Mickey Rourke's well-earned success and critical acclaim with last year's "The Wrestler", we now receive a fairly expedient release of Alan Parker's "Angel Heart" on the Blu-Ray format, released on the long-defunct Carolco pictures from 1987.
First off I must mention that I am a big fan of this title. It is not a movie which will appeal to everyone, but I really enjoy the overall visual style and the feel (of impending doom) together with the scenery and the truly awesome music and sound cues which makes this a very original piece, and not in any way reminiscent of a typical 80s film. Coupled with a compelling story based on William Hjortsberg's novel "Falling Angel" and top-notch performances throughout makes this one well worth watching over again.
Ironically, this movie was released just before Mickey Rourke intensified his self-destructive process (which coincidentally is what makes "The Wrestler" so good as well, since it parallels Mickey's own strides in life over almost the same period of time covered in that film), a time which--according to his interviews--he was in the process of losing his house (the interviewer actually repeats himself over and over asking Rourke about "why he chose to make the film"). :)
I don't know if it was this pressure which brought out his performance, but nevertheless it is something to behold--especially near the end where he goes all out and almost loses his voice.
The rest of the cast is excellent as well. Lisa Bonet and Charlotte Rampling offer memorable performances, not mentioning the scene in which Bonet almost got kicked off "The Cosby Show" for doing. ;)
As for the technical quality of this release, it is quite decent. The film does show its age in certain scenes and background detail, but it is overall quite acceptable. Not much tinkering has been done to make it artificially sharper or "smoother" using DNR, edge enchancement, et al.
The sound (which is afforded a DTS HD Master Audio track) is quite good as well. Obviously the music really benefits (Courtney Pine's saxophones sound glorious). One small negative point is that it has a little muddy bass (which the original DVD also had), and some scenes did not deliver as much punch as I would have wanted to. Other than that, it was given a quite respectable treatment overall.
Dialogue was also intelligible throughout the feature--better so than many newer 90s releases which have made it onto Blu-Ray.
All in all, I can highly recommend this title if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary. It has quite a few memorable scenes and the performances and music alone makes this a strong buy.
One of Alan Parker's best.
(On an a related note, I see to my horror that this is scheduled for a remake to be released in 2011. Why do these so-called "moviemakers" always feel the need to subject the most unique & iconic masterpieces to this abhorrent practice? Create something thoughtful & original instead. Oh wait, you're unable to as that would require some ounce of talent. My bad.)"
A Great Escape
Bruce Kendall | Southern Pines, NC | 07/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most of Parker's films are visually interesting. This one is viscerally mesmerizing, as well, partly because he captures the essential undulent, oily sleaziness of the Big Easy so adroitly. I lived in New Orleans for five years and can spot a fraudulent, comercially bent take when I see one (Clint Eastwood comes to mind). Mickey Rourke was one of those hit or miss actors of the 90s (I was one of those who actually liked him in "Barfly"). In this instance he is more than adequate, and he rolls along with the punchy, quirky script like the prize fighter he longed to be. Lisa Bonet, as the Nubian Lolita, is perfectly cast. No need to provide spoilers here, but the ending is one of the all time greatest, where any ambiguity that the filmmaker might have set up for us is exquisitely resolved. Certainly not one of the deepest cinema excursions ever attempted, but one of the most enjoyable, particularly for those who like a little spice and suspense in their gumbo."
The genius of Mickey Rourke...
Martin Andersen | 04/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"is fully evident in this late 80s Alan Parker film, an overlooked classic if there ever was one. In my opinion, no one then or now could do the job portraying detective Harry Angel that Rourke did. He captures every nuance of the character perfectly, running the gamut from emotional wreckage to physical haggardness. How someone so gifted could let said gift get away from him the way Rourke did is a mystery almost as compelling as the one serving as the subject of this film.The basic storyline is deceptively simple; Harry Angel is a down and out post WWII New York detective hired by a shadowy figure to find a missing singer, one Johnny Favorite. That search leads him from New York City to the bowels of the Louisiana bayou, and it's that setting that gives the film so much of its powerful atmosphere. Things are not as they seem, and the story becomes stranger the further along it goes... Alan Parker did a fantastic job of using muted colors to convey the sense that this story is not taking place in our time, but rather one of a recently faded past. Visually, the film transports you to that place and moment in a way that few "period pieces" manage to accomplish. Add in his notorious attention to detail, and you have little doubt that you are seeing the deep south of Louisiana as it was in the 1950s.The other major performances (Robert De Niro, Charlotte Rampling, Lisa Bonet, Brownie McGhee) are wonderful in their own right, but IMO, this is Rourke's show. A modern classic!"