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Angel Heart (DVD)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Theatrical Release: 1987 / Director: Alan Parker / Actors: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro ... / DVD released 18 May, 2004 at Live/Artisan / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    12 Reviews
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      27.08.2009 03:05
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      Still good after all these years

      I re-watched 'Angel Heart' the other day and I still find it an exciting and interesting film to watch. Released in 1987 and directed by Alan Parker (Midnight Express, Mississippi Burning), even before I saw it back in 1987 I knew it was going to be good because of the various elements to it. Mickey Rourke is one of those actors with a face full of character and expression which makes him one of my favourites. His previous films were good (Diner, Rumblefish eg). Robert De Niro for the same reason who plays the aptly named Louis Cyphre, Lisa Bonet (as a Cosby kid it was going to be interesting seeing her in this gritty film), Voodoo (sexy religion), and blues music in the deep south of 1950s America. There is also the accomplished actress, Charlotte Rampling.

      Rourke plays the scruffy, chain-smoking private detective, Harry Angel, an atheist from Brooklyn, who is commissioned by the intimidating figure Louis Cyphre (De Niro) to locate a missing man, a famous singer called Johnny Favorite, who owes him something. His investigations take him to Louisiana and a world of darkness, where Catholicism is sometimes a front for Voodoo and the sinister practices of the locals. Menace and threat are everywhere for Harry, men are chasing him, he keeps seeing black figures washing blood off a wall and even dogs are attacking him. Some of these images seem to be in his mind and some not. And the other thing, everyone he interviews in his investigations seems to end up dead. Louis Cyphre is paying him a lot of money to find this guy, but Harry starts to think he is being framed. Louis Cyphre sure has sent him to some kind of hell.

      The plot of this film is great and the harrowing journey of Harry Angel really gives Mickey Rourke a great vehicle for his acting talents. De Niro plays Louis Cyphre with understated menace, and Lisa Bonet certainly makes you forget she was ever a Cosby. The sex scene in this film is notorious and controversial, but I think it is one of the best sex scenes in cinematic history, with blood pouring like rain over them. By the end of 'Angel Heart' you have the taste of blood in your mouth. Great soundtrack too.

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      02.04.2009 08:05
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      Angel Heart

      Released in 1987 and directed by Alan Parker (who had previously made the musicals Bugsy Malone and Fame, amongst others), ANGEL HEART stars Mickey Rourke as a private investigator, Harry Angel, who is employed by a strange, mysterious guy called Louis Cyphre (played masterfully by the great Robert De Niro) to find another guy who ran out on him owing him money, Johnny Favourite (great character names in this film!). In the course of his investigations Harry gets involved in voodoo, murder, and a relationship with a voodoo priestess played by Lisa Bonet, best known for her work in television's THE COSBY SHOW.

      The film has a scary feel although do be aware that it features quite a bit of violence and some nudity, although I didn't feel that any of this was gratuitous, instead it was all appropriate for the storyline. It is also worth seeing the film in order to see Rourke before he went completely off the rails, in advance of his recent comeback.

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        14.10.2004 19:57
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        Harry Angel (Mickey Rouke) is that cliche down at heal private detective who is offered a large rate of pay to look for a missing big band singer, Johnny Favorite. His client is the mysterious Louis Cyphre (Robert DeNiro) an elegant and sinister benefactor whose motives dont become apparent until the end of the film. Angel follows up various leads but some other force is at work, all of the people he needs to interview, or who he comes involved with meet a violant death in a ritualistic act of murder. As each murder takes place Angel slowly realises the truth of what is going on and the nightmare that he is caught up in, and the reasons for Cyphres interest in a has been singer. Its difficult to give more of the plot away with out spoiling the whole movie as its one of those sixth sense type thrillers, and the last thing you want me to give away is Angel Hearts equivilant of "he was dead all along", sorry to those who havent seen sixth sense.

        Angel Heart is set in the 50s in the deep south of the United States and the bleak and down beat backgrounds give the film a distinctive look, that matches the plot line. The poverty of the towns and back waters that Harry Angel finds himself in and the strange characters he encounters all add to a menace and dispair which give the film its flavour. There is a sense of frustration about the film as it gives very little away until it has to, and you can empathise with Angel as he seems to be kept from knowing whats going on until the full realisation of the events comes crashing down on him. The films editing keeps you on your seats as it flits around quickly and jumps between flash backs and current events, and often its difficult to know if your in the past, the present or in Angels imagined version of events.

        Rourke is splendid in the role of the crumpled and cynical New Yorker, wise cracking his way through the deep south, looking every inch the world weary gumshoe. DeNiros role is minimal and fairly beneath him, limited in scope but he looks majestic in the part none the less. It is a role that I feel could have been made more of considering the talents of the man cast in place. Lisa Bonnett is also very convincing as a waifish voodoo princess, fragile on the one hand and with an inner strength and wisdom on the other.

        There is an evil cloud that hangs over the film, a dark mystery that weaves its way through every scene, an evil with a human face, controlling the events that Angel is caught up in, to the point where you feel he is a mere puppet to some higher force, finding out only what he is allowed to.

        Its not a film big on action, special affects or dramatic stunts, its reward lies in the plot and the portrayals of the ugly and downbeat side of life and the brutal nature of humanity. For lovers of thrillers and horror, this film will be a worthy investment in time, and it may surprise those who normally avoid the genre. falling between detective, thriller, voodoo and murder, it has elements of all and is woven together into a brooding and dark cult classic.


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          12.04.2002 01:40
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          Having only just seen this classic I was amazed at how ahead of it's time it was. And what's this, an Alan Parker movie without a song and a dance? Briefly, the plot is about a private detective (Rourke) being hired by a mysterious client played by the intense, Robert DeNiro. Rourke's character is hired to trace someone who has welched from a bet set by DeNiro. That's all you need to know. I never thought I'd write this but Mickie Rourke was brilliant and I think many recent films such as The Sixth Sense and Fight Club owe a debt to this kind of plot. It has the classic twist and Alan Parker's direction captures the sinister ambience of New Orleans perfectly. All the fan imagery was a little overdone (particularly waiting for the DVD to load). However, Rourke's fear of chickens is hilarious! I've never seen anyone(DeNiro)eating eggs in such a sinister way and the symbolism of the devil eating souls worked perfectly. These amazing performances set against a backdrop of Voodoo and New Orleans provide one of the creepiest films I have seen. I urge anyone who hasn't seen this masterpiece to buy it , don't rent it. It's a keeper.

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            23.07.2001 07:13
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            Robert DeNiro. An intelligent and gripping plot. A stinging twist. A good, satisfying but unhappy ending. Angel Heart fits right in the mould of my favourite films, and after watching it I'm pleased to say that it has lived up to expectations. First of all, let me say that Angel Heart is not a horror film, at least not in my opinion. It's a chilling detective thriller, a macabre mystery, a film noir, but not a horror film. And an excellent thriller at that... a solid cast, a superb plot, some stunning visuals, and a twist of the satanic. We follow Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) through 1955 New York and Louisiana on the trail of an apparently escaped patient of a hospital for the shell-shocked (the story concentrates on the events of 1943, as some American troops went back home). Angel, a private detective, is hired to find this man, a Johnny Favourite, by the mysterious Louis Cyphre (Robert DeNiro). As he searches for Johnny through the black world and that of the occult, Angel meets a number of strange characters, all connected to the man in some way, and many meeting unpleasant deaths. Chasing the presumed killer, Johnny Favourite, Angel soon finds himself being watched by the local Louisiana police. As the story continues and Angel, and ourselves the viewers, discover more about the complex tale, doubts are cast as to Johnny's motives, the identity and motives of Louis Cyphre, and even the integrity of Angel himself. The plot culminates in a major twist, in one of the better third acts I've seen in a movie recently. Let me give a special mention to the end sequence, which is spliced in with the credits to perfectly illustrate my firm view that movie-watchers should not think a film is over until they see the copyright details! The style of the film is very drained, dark, dirty. This is an old film noir, plain and simple. The picture is always very colourless, which starkly enhances the dramatic effect of the deep r
            ed blood that is splashed about from time to time. Indeed, Angel Heart is fairly gruesome in places. Nothing like your average horror film, the film is just a little disturbing in a way, with a strong satanic tone filtering through. At times the film becomes intense, as we start to see Angel's dreams and nightmares intermingle with reality. Gripping is certainly one way to describe the story. Costumes are dirty rags, sets authentically dark, wet and grimy. The whole film has a wonderful atmosphere of foreboding malevolence. Robert DeNiro does not have vast amount of screentime, indeed this was a fairly modest period for him as an actor. He does, however, illustrate his remarkable acting abilities, and his talent for holding a scene together perfectly. He is ominous, mysterious, intelligent and commanding all at the same time, in a role I would not have immediately associated with the man. DeNiro always feeds his co-stars very well, and Angel Heart is no exception, with Mickey Rourke benefiting greatly from working across the room from DeNiro. He is also perfectly competent alone, offering a range of emotions and delivering lines and actions naturally and believably. The rest of the cast do the film no injustice either, in particular the young Lisa Bonet managing perfectly her role as the key to Angel's understanding, and love interest at the same time. Helming the film is Alan Parker, a British screenwriter and director of considerable talent and versatility. He both directed Angel Heart and wrote it (adapting the story from the William Hjortsberg novel which, incidentally, I recommend to anyone who was sufficiently interested by the film). Angel Heart is a fine film - the perfect example of a solid detective thriller. Very rarely is the film noir genre brought to the screens today with such authenticity and excellence, and rarely do I have the pleasure of being fully immersed in a wonderful story.

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              23.07.2001 05:54
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              I had never heard of this film until I saw it on offer for £3.99 at my local Makro store. Having a closer look I realised Robert De Niro was in it and thought to myself 'well it has to be good'. (Yes, I am a great fan of De Niro!) This film was made in 1987 and along with De Niro (who plays Louis Cyphre), stars Mickey Rourke, (who plays Harry Angel). ~The Story~ ~~~~~~~~~~~ Harry Angel is a private detective who is contracted by Mr Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favourite who owes him money. He needs to find out if this guy is still alive or not. So Angel sets off on the trail to find him. He manages to find a few people who knew him or worked with people who knew him, but after Angel meets with these people - they become victim to a gruesome murder. It seems as though someone is following Angel's progress and is trying to 'shut up' these people he has been talking to. Angel, himself, becomes a suspect in two of the murders and as he delves deeper into his quest to find this missing singer he realises that there's a lot more going on than he could ever have imagined. That is all I shall tell you about the story of the film. I was lucky in that no one had told me anything about this film - all I knew was what I read on the back of the video cover! And believe me if that is all you know about the film, you will enjoy it a lot more! Don't spoil it for yourself by looking up any more facts about this film and what happens - just find out for yourself! Bearing in mind this film was made in 1987, don't expect loads of special effects. This film is not that style. The story may seem a little slow to begin with but don't let that distract you from what is going on...it is definately one of those films that comes together at the end! Although not a classic, this one is definately worth your time. Enjoy. You won't be disappointed.

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                22.03.2001 01:17
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                Based on the novel ‘Falling Angel’ by William Hjortsberg, Alan Parker’s film is set in 1955. Private Investigator Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke), who usually deals with minor problems, is hired by the mysterious Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to search for the missing singer Johnny Favorite. As Angel becomes involved in the case, the bodies pile up and the twists keep on coming. When released in 1987, Angel Heart caused a huge fuss because of a lengthy torrid sex scene involving Rourke and Lisa Bonet (of The Cosby Show). The film was originally given an ‘X’ rating but was changed to an ‘R’ rating after ten seconds of the sex scene were snipped (though these have been restored now to home video and DVD). Further controversy arose from the violence, which many considered to be too bloody and disturbing. What is so fascinating for me about this film is the way in which Parker has crossed two very different genres so successfully. On the one hand the film is a Raymond Chandler-esque detective story but on the other it is a supernatural tale involving voodoo and black magic. The hybrid works so well and revived the film noir that was so popular in the 1940s and 50s. Parker really grasps a feel of what it was like to be in 1950s New York (the gritty urban side) and New Orleans (the sweltering heat). The production design is simply superb – in a sense the heat and the dirt radiates through the screen and for a while we are there. Furthermore Parker has made the film using a grainy film stock which heightens the realism and authenticity of the whole design. Though Robert De Niro is fine as usual, this is Rourke’s film all the way. He isn’t your normal squeaky-clean hero, instead we have a sleazy, dirty, unshaven lead and Rourke makes the most of these characters. Further support comes from Charlotte Rampling and the young Lisa Bonet who typifies the New Orleans area she inhabits. One can easily enjo
                y this film on one level but when going back to it for a second time the themes and imagery become more clearer and interesting. Parker’s images are striking, sensual and occasionally shocking catching an ominous feeling of dread, evil and doom. Look at the continual use of blood and those ceiling fans – what does it all signify? But of course, as with all great directors, Parker doesn’t force this symbolism down our throats and lets us enjoy the movie on whatever level we want to – and that is why you should see Angel Heart. Now!

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                  15.11.2000 00:49

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                  If I decided to watch a film because of its title, I would give Angel Heart a miss and I did, so I didn't even bother to read anything about it. Many years later whilst in the middle of a media course at our local college, most of the group of students opted to watch Angel Heart out of a list of a dozen or so movies. I groaned and eagerly anticipated the drive home. Now I know what I missed the first time around. Angel Heart is a dark tale of mystery, suspense, voodoo, murder and a trail so convoluted even an Indian tracker would have difficulty following. It is quite scary but not in the "grab you by the throat and terrify the wits out of you" kind but more in the head where it nags away at you, although there is mayhem and gore. Mickey Rouke plays the part of Harry Angel a private eye who is hired by the mysterious Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to find a singer who has mysteriously disappeared. As Harry weaves his way through the plot, one by one his leads seem to end up dead which doesn't help his case. I won't lay bare the plot as this would spoil a new viewer's enjoyment of what is a very good film which invites you to work at it with Harry Angel whilst at the same time leading the less inquisitive to a conclusion. I left college that evening puzzled and intrigued and it wasn't until recently after watching Angel Heart again that I realised that Louis Cyphre was a very clever way of disguising Lucifer. Maybe this clue will help those who like to beat the director to the answer. However this is not a film where you can pick up a few minutes into it. You have to watch it right from the very beginning, right through to the very end.

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                  03.11.2000 03:55
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                  I enjoyed this movie more than I expected to. It stars Mickey Rourke (who I don't particular rate as an actor) and Robert De Niro at a time in his career when he seemed to just be treading water. The gorgeous Lisa Bonet appears, and I've always liked her since the early days of THE COSBY HOW (on TV) so that was definately a plus in its favour from the start. The film is based on a novel (called FALLING ANGEL by William Hjortsberg) which I haven't read by I'm certainly going to seek it out now. Worth a watch, but I don't want to give away the plot as it will have you hanging on right to the end!

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                  03.10.2000 02:37
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                  Angel Heart is a film about a man who sells his soul to the devil. Mickey Rouke puts in a lifetime-best performance as a gumshoe in 60's Deep South, who is hired by a sinister Robert De Niro (great cameo) to find out some informationn on a young man who died... This film's great atmosphere, steamy set pieces, celver dialogue and a suprisingly convuluted plot will leave you gasping. This movie is fantastic for hooror fans everywhere, and is personally one of the scariest movies I have seen. There is also a decent plot twist in the movie, for those of you who guessed Sixth Sense's ending and want a more plausible one. The R1 DVD is just a movie only version, with a small featurette. Look out for the R2 SE in late 2000, it has a commentary and a few featurettes! Source: www.dvd.reviewer.co.uk

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                  05.09.2000 20:08

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                  This is a film that both looks great and that will have you thinking - Usual Suspects style so that you immediately want to watch the film again. Mickey Rourke stars as a private eye hired to investigate the disappearance of a famous singer. The film turns darker with a series of gruesome murders and when Mickey heads down South and begins to mix in the world of voodoo it takes on a more spiritual tone. The film has repeated uses of symbolic imagery to hammer its point home and the whole thing ends in a way that is either clever or laughable depending upon your mood. Well worth a watch though.

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                  07.07.2000 10:28
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                  This outstanding combination of horror and film noir has matured well, and in the light of Hollywood's recent flirtation with all things demonic (END OF DAYS, THE NINTH GATE etc.) seems as contemporary now as it was back in 1987. Mickey Rourke, at that time the megastar his charisma merits, plays gumshoe Harry Angel, employed by Robert De Niro's sinister stranger to track down a missing singer who dabbled in the occult; yet every time Angel finds a lead, the source winds up dead... Directed by Alan Parker (EVITA, THE COMMITMENTS etc.), ANGEL HEART blends mirky, faded visuals - this was almost 10 years before SE7EN - with a detective story reminiscent of a slightly deranged Raymond Chandler novel. Twist endings are all the rage now, but ANGEL HEART's denouement is still brilliantly conceived. Not so much a scary or shocking film, as one that sticks in your mind a long, long time after viewing. It puts the generally juvenile Hollywood horror movie (I STILL KNOW YOUR FINAL DESTINATION ON ELM STREET VII or whatever) into sharp perspective.

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                Set in Harlem and New Orleans in 1955, this supernatural thriller stirred a brief controversy in the US when released in 1987 because some scenes featuring Lisa Bonet (then a popular cast member of The Cosby Show) were considered too sexually explicit to be rated R. The plot follows the fortunes of a sullen detective (Mickey Rourke) who is hired to find a missing person by a shady client with pointy fingernails named Louis Cyphre (Lucifer, get it?), played with subtle menace by Robert De Niro. Rourke's investigation leads him into an underworld of voodoo and forbidden desires, and as the mystery unfolds director Alan Parker fills every scene with conspicuous style and atmospheric excess, compelling critic Pauline Kael to observe that "Parker simply doesn't have the gift of making evil seductive, and he edits like a flasher". And yet, this movie does casts a spell of its own (Roger Ebert's review was considerably more charitable), and the performances of Rourke, De Niro, Bonet and Charlotte Rampling are well suited to the ominous mood. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com