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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 26.23%
Average: 4.92%
Pretty Bad: 1.64%
Total Crap: 3.28%

3 reviews, 43 user ratings

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Angel Heart
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Charles Tatum

"Heart Attack"
5 stars

Mickey Rourke, still good enough to appear in theatrical releases as opposed to straight to video fare, stars as the New York private detective Harry Angel.

The setting is 1955, and this normally lowbrow investigator is hired by Louis Cyphre (Robert DeNiro) to find a missing singer named Johnny Favorite, who owes Cyphre a debt. Angel begins making the usual inquiries, finding out that Favorite was an amnesiac WWII veteran who was spirited from the local hospital by a mysterious duo who paid a morphine addicted doctor $25,000 to keep the patient on the books as a resident there.

Angel seems to have hit a dead end, learning Favorite had a society girlfriend down south, as well as a secret lover. Cyphre keeps pushing Angel, plying him with cash. Angel also takes a more personal angle on the case, especially since the doctor ends up dead of an apparent suicide, but Angel is a murder suspect. Angel goes to New Orleans, and tracks down the society girlfriend Margaret (Charlotte Rampling). As Angel finds more and more people who used to know Favorite before the war, but have not seen him since, the witnesses turn up dead after seeing him. Margaret, as well. Lisa Bonet is Epiphany, the offspring of the secret lover and Favorite, and Angel is drawn to her, resulting in one bloody love making session. She is mysterious, is 17 and has a child (something not exactly looked up to in the '50's), and comments that Favorite was the most evil person on the face of the earth. And Cyphre keeps Angel on the case, even as more bodies pile up and the New Orleans police look into Angel's motions. We soon learn the real relationship between Angel and Favorite, and Cyphre's true identity.

This film is most notorious for Cosby alum Bonet's sex and nude scenes, which are not all that notorious except that she was on the squeaky clean sitcom first. Rourke is very good as the slightly dumb Angel, who kind of stumbles from person to person as opposed to doing any kind of brilliant Sherlock Holmesian deductions. DeNiro is great as Cyphre in his few scenes. This was made back when DeNiro did not agree to appear in EVERY film made; when his very screen presence was an event. He should make more genre films, but he made the laughable "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein," instead. Rampling is given nothing to do except make a cute corpse.

The main surprise ending of the story is too easy to figure out. The mechanics of Favorite and Angel's relationship are hinted at, but Cyphre has a line about an egg being a symbol of the soul, and you pretty much have it once you hear him say it.

Parker's visuals are stunning, nothing appeared on screen this disturbing until "Jacob's Ladder," to which this film favorably compares. His version of New Orleans is appropriately hot and humid, another great instance where he makes his main characters sweat and suffer just like normal people (just look at the perspiring Phil Joanou made Alec Baldwin go through in "Heaven's Prisoners). Great look and good script, by Parker based on the novel by William Hjortberg.

All in all, "Angel Heart" succeeds enough times to make it a scary, suspenseful ride. You may know how it all comes out, but getting there is the fun.

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originally posted: 02/22/03 10:20:41
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell awesome supernatural mystery thriller 4 stars
8/15/13 james WOTH IT JUST 2 SEE LISA BONET NAKED 5 stars
1/24/11 bill norris if you even kinda liked the movie, go buy the book! 4 stars
11/28/10 Ronald Holst It was ok I have seen better and worse ! 3 stars
11/24/10 Rob steffenino Awesome horror 4 stars
11/24/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
11/25/06 David Pollastrini Bloody sex scene was good! 4 stars
10/22/06 Dillon Brilliant atmospheric horror 5 stars
8/14/06 Sepi53 Interesting mystery action film! 4 stars
3/11/06 Dillon Geniously atmospheric. Rourke, De Niro and Bonet are perfect 5 stars
1/26/06 Agent Sands One of those movies that's good only for its climactic twist. 4 stars
1/01/06 Jay_kar2004 okay for nudity 4 stars
5/10/05 Vince It has Rourke at his best, De Niro and Lisa Bonnet Naked. Need I say more? 5 stars
10/30/04 FilmWatcher this movie really sent Rourke in hell. Waiting him for first role acting 5 stars
10/23/04 UMER for creating the BEST devil of screen history,deniro should've been awarded an oscar 5 stars
5/24/04 douglas orlich great film: nightmarish and nuanced 5 stars
5/02/04 john bale Supernatural mystery thriller of quality, with clever script, De Niro/Rouke extraordinary 5 stars
3/16/04 LIAM JACKSON Excellent film.Very disturbing.Robert De niro's devil is the stuff of nightmares! 5 stars
1/16/04 tyler awesome 5 stars
12/15/03 Vince One of my favorite. Lisa Bonet is hot! 5 stars
11/28/03 john tight, scary atmospheric and did I mention scary? 5 stars
7/10/03 ron mahl Brilliant movie. Underrated 5 stars
6/21/03 Fred Vaughn My eyes were bulging frequently! 4 stars
3/28/03 Jack Bourbon Silly ending (except for elevator), but great movie. No better atmospherics out there. 5 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby An extraordinary achievement. Rourke is simply magnificent. 5 stars
2/05/03 natasha_theobald great style, engaging story, amazing performance by Rourke 4 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Underrated as hell 5 stars
7/30/02 Matthew Smith disappointing 3 stars
6/20/02 Graham I love this film - have done for 15 years 5 stars
5/21/02 eduardo reudchr great, mesmerizing film that keeps you constantly on the edge. Great actings, especially 5 stars
3/23/02 Butterbean Brilliant movie! Bonet is beautiful and I also miss Rourke 5 stars
3/14/02 Shams Huque Shame about the current status of Mickey Rourke... 5 stars
3/02/02 Alan Smithee Very creepy stuff. 5 stars
2/11/02 Marianne Blackwelder Wedding Planner so far a one-time charm for Jennifer Lopez. This takes a real dive. 2 stars
10/04/01 Phoenix This film slowly builds to the climax, and when it comes it is a knockout. 5 stars
9/24/01 andrew stojanovic this film rocks,cool stuff 5 stars
7/07/01 Elvisfan So Jesse L gets a bone for Lisa..YAY! Let's all celebrate!! 1 stars
5/03/01 eatme too predictable 1 stars
4/27/01 Roy Smith Stars interesting, slowly builds, totally twists on you, gives you an A+ mindfuck ending. 5 stars
4/12/01 Jesse L Great movie. Lisa Bonet is hot. Mickey's best. 5 stars
11/29/00 Cristopher Revilla man, i felt emotionally drained, what a weird film 4 stars
12/08/99 Timbo My girlfriend got so scared she caught fire and died. Mickey's an ugly guy 5 stars
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  01-Mar-1987 (R)
  DVD: 18-May-2004

  N/A (18)


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