Movie Review: Angel Heart (1987)

Ladies and gentlemen of the interwebs, it is that time of year again. The time where I for a full month focus my blog in on the spookier side of entertainment. I welcome all of you to the 6th iteration of The Month of Spooks! So let’s enter the nightmare.

Ladies and gents… “Angel Heart”.

New York, 1955. Private investigator Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) gets hired by the enigmatic Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to find a singer who’s gone missing. But as Harry investigates this disappearance, things start taking a darker turn than originally expected. What’s intriguing about “Angel Heart” in context to this month’s theme is that it isn’t immediately horrific, starting out more as a pulpy detective thriller that over time evolves into more of a psychological affair, building a looming sense of dread and paranoia. And I think the evolution is beautiful and electrifying. I am a fan of detective fiction, so to see it evolve into a horror story is fascinating to me, especially when THIS well. Never was there a moment I was bored, and many moments had me truly glued to what was going on. It’s a fascinating and creepy story that went places I didn’t expect, keeping me on edge throughout its entire runtime.

The characters in this are pretty interesting, all feeling relevant to the plot while also being engaging in their own right. Mickey Rourke plays Harry Angel, silver-tongued, snarky gumshoe from Noo Yohk. At first that is the side we see of him, something very familiar. But over the movie he develops in some interesting ways that I don’t wanna spoil. And Rourke is great in the role. Robert De Niro is great as the mysterious Louis Cyphre. We also get supporting work from people like Lisa Bonet, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Higgins, Brownie McGhee, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Trevor Jones, and I thought it was great. Like the narrative, it shifts a bit in genre, which is fine because of how well composed it is. Sometimes it’s eerie and suspenseful and sometimes Courtney Pine seduces you with his noir-inspired saxophone solos. It’s good shit. There’s also a few licensed songs used throughout, and they work quite well in their respective scenes too. So yeah, this movie has some good music.

Based on the novel “Falling Angel” by William Hjortsberg, “Angel Heart” was written and directed by Alan Parker (recently passed away, R.I.P). And I think he did an excellent job here. His directing hearkens back to old detective noir while still bringing the uncompromising imagery and suspense of 80s horror, and it mixes together wonderfully. This is especially evident when paired with Michael Seresin’s breathtaking cinematography. The combo makes for an insanely well crafted film.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.3/10.

“Angel Heart” is a beautifully crafted and disturbing gumshoe horror that I loved watching. It has a great story, good characters, great performances, really good music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for Angel Heart” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Angel Heart” is now completed.

Man… young Mickey Rourke was a handsome motherfucker.

Movie Review: Dark City (1998)

You know how we all want weird, original movies? Yeah, sometimes that happens.

Ladies and gents… “Dark City”.

On a dark night, John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) finds himself waking up in an apartment with a dead body, not remembering anything… not even who he is. So he starts going on a quest to find out who he is, what the hell is going on, and why these weird/pale/supernatural motherfuckers are chasing him. So now we have our twist-turny memory-altering noir. And I think this plot is great. The clever ideas about memories and and reality being messed with, combined with some really solid twists and turns throughout is what makes this plot so great. I know this explanation might seem a bit vague, but that is only intentional as I don’t want to spoil it too much. But trust me when I say this: I thought the plot here was great.

The characters are layered and interesting. Rufus Sewell is great as John Murdoch, playing him constantly on edge as he is chased when he’s trying to figure all this strange shit out. And can we just take a second to appreciate having Rufus Sewell in a leading role, ’cause it’s not every day we see that happening. Anyway, like I said, he’s great in the role. Jennifer Connelly plays Murdoch’s wife, Emma. As a character she’s trying to figure out what the hell is going on with her husband. And Connelly is really good in the role. William Hurt plays a detective that is trying to solve this whole Murdoch case, and he’s really good in the role. Kiefer Sutherland plays a weird scientist that is important to the plot in ways that I don’t want to to ruin here, but I can at least say that Sutherland was great in the role. Then we have the main three of the aforementioned pale/weird people, played by Richard O’Brien, Ian Richardson (R.I.P), and Bruce Spence. And they’re all great. Really, all actors in this movie do very well in their roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Trevor Jones and it was great. Dark, eerie, tense, epic, inspiring, and just overall very well composed. It perfectly worked for this dystopian sci-fi-noir-weirdness. Then there are also a couple of song covers in the movie, performed by Anita Kelsey, and they’re great. Yeah, this movie has some great music.

This movie was directed by Alex Proyas and I think he did a great job here. His directing is atmospheric and tense, keeping me invested and slightly on edge throughout most of the runtime. There are also a couple of action scenes in this and they are handled very well. They’re not the shooty-bang-bang types of action scenes, but instead relying on other types of action scenes. It’s difficult to discuss without spoiling it, but let’s just say that it’s some really solid stuff. I also feel like I have to mention that this movie just oozes atmosphere. From the directing, to the cinematography, to the art direction, to the set design… it is all a visual treat.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Dark City” is a great piece of science fiction-noir weirdness. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and directing. Time for my final score. My final score for “Dark City” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Dark City” is now completed.

Why do I get a feeling that Christopher Nolan likes this movie?