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Angel-a  [Blu-ray]
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Luc Besson directs an uncharacteristically minimalist tale of a hustler and an angel. Andre (Jamel Debbouze), a young Parisian hustler, has run out of luck. He's broke and in debt to his neck and his one hope - a win on the US green card lottery, has fallen through due to an unforeseen loophole. Deciding to check out early, he mounts the Pont Neuf bridge, ready to take a swan dive and make it all go away. Angel-A (Rie Rasmussen) a leggy, mesmeric blonde appears suddenly and beats him to the drop - diving in ahead of him. Panicked, instinct kicks in, and he rescues her in a desperate, flailing kerfuffle. In return, she offers her help in getting his life back on track. She's a divine intervener, it emerges, not on the bridge through chance at all. Though she's his guardian angel, their need for each other is mutual, as he finds out.
Its been some time some French director Luc Besson stepped behind the camera. And truthfully, Angel-A, good as it is, is a little underwhelming, particularly when you see that Bessons curriculum vitae includes Leon, The Big Blue and The Fifth Element.
Still, thats not to say that Angel-A is a film without merit. Quite the contrary, in fact, as this simple, diverting tale has plenty in its corner. Andre, played by Jamel Debbouze, is just about to end his life. When we meet him, hes heavily in debt and he chooses to drown himself in the River Seine. Yet hes saved by the mysterious Angel-A of the films title (played by Rie Rasmussen), and she offers to help Andre pull through his current problems. Thus, the stage is set for a pleasant, engaging mix of comedy, drama and a dose of romance, made all the stronger by its likeable lead actors.
While Angel-A is undoubtedly lacking the ambition of some of Bessons earlier work, its a film thats hard not like. Its beautifully shot, tightly put together and thrives on its ultimate simplicity. It wont be a dish to everyones taste, but its nonetheless likely to reward the majority who are tempted to give it a spin. --Jon Foster --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Paris itself is the third leading character in this tale and the cinematography is glorious. It's all been well planned and even short scenes of the two main characters are filmed in the most visually appealing way, for example they'll be walking across a bridge for just a few seconds - but they'll be filmed from beyond one of the other bridges to show off just how beautiful the summer sun makes Paris look. This happens time and again, and adds up to a visual treat for anybody with a soft spot for Paris. The ending is completely mad and emphasises that this is a modern day fairytale, nothing more nothing less, and that dramatic finale makes Angel-A seem very different (in a lighter, crazy way) for the second viewing. The film gets a second life when you know what's coming.
I had it on dvd and saw it plenty of times, so when it came out on the better format I replaced it immediately and I'm glad I did. The transfer is magnificent. The greys and blacks have become so rich, and there are great swathes of very soft tints slipped into some scenes which weren't so obvious on dvd, such as the skies above Paris having the vaguest of blue hues. The clarity is cranked up a gear and therefore I am one pleased customer.
Strange though, the subtitles have been re-done and some lines have been re-interpreted and some words have been ditched. It doesn't really matter, but it does make me wonder how the mood or tone of foreign films can be changed by the people who do the subtitles.
Large part of the credit has to go to the casting one of his favourite lead actors JAMEL DEBBOUZE. Squat, cute, compelling - his lined crumpled features and stubbly chin are akin to a French Humphrey Bogart - the kind of actor whose face and watery eyes can express so much and have you routing for his character with an investment that feels personal. And like most Male Directors of a certain age - our Luc likes his leading ladies too (the prettier the better). Enter the extraordinary-looking RIE RASMUSSEN.
Jamel plays Andre Massau - an Algerian pint-sized low-life living in Paris who steals croissants from restaurant tables and owes money to Frank the Frenchman and Pedro the Spaniard. But unless Andre pays up more than 50,000 Euro by midnight Saturday - his body will be `everywhere' on Sunday morning. Failing to find solace in the American Embassy (a green card he won in a Lottery), even the French Police won't put him in Jail so he can be safe for a few days. Andre finally goes to the bridge overlooking the Seine and toys with the idea of ending it all. But annoyingly he's not alone. A six-foot high stick-insect blond in a tight black party dress with a pearl necklace sporting legs that stretch six miles into the ground is also on the wrong side of the ornate railings about to do the same.Read more ›
André is 28 years old and badly down on his luck. Although his working practices have been a little shady in the past, he's trying to make an honest fist of things and - following a recent trip abroad - is sure that his big break is just around the corner. However, given that he owes an absolute fortune to nearly every crook, villain and gangster in Paris, he mightn't live to see the good times. Having sought help and protection from both the police - who wouldn't lock him up for a few days - and the US Embassy - although of North African descent, he holds a green card - he's left alone and desperate. Eventually, he gives up and decides to throw himself off a bridge and into the Seine...and, just as he's about to jump, he notices Angela to his left. In fairness, Angela is very distracting : she's a tall, very leggy and exceptionally beautiful blonde...and the dress she's wearing only just keeps everything covered. Although he pleads with her not to jump, she won't listen...and so, rather than ending his own life, André finds himself jumping in and saving Angela's. The pair get talking on the banks of the river and, by way of thanks, Angela dedicates herself to helping André. Miraculously, with Angela on his side, things start looking up very, very quickly...
It is subtitled (which may put some people off) and it mightn't appeal to the very innocent, but I loved it. There is a real `feel-good' element to the movie and there is a pretty obvious comparison to "It's a Wonderful Life". Some of the better known locations of Paris are used as the story's backdrop - the Seine and its bridges, the bateaux mouche and the Eiffel Tower - and it's very stylishly shot in black and white. A film I'd have no hesitation in recommending.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
French audio. English subtitles. No french subtitles, no english audio. Companies should bother more on giving good product to the public. So a pretty poor edition. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Carlos FP
A philosophical Sci-fi tale, laden with symbolism, mythology and Grace; about a humble man with low self-esteem who saves and is saved by, a mysterious beautiful womanPublished 21 days ago by someone
Of course it's a great movie AND it's a great box, containing a DVD, a CD and a little text book, the best for a fan! However be warned: it has only French audio, no subtitles :(,Published 1 month ago by jan brant van den Berg
WHY IS IT NOT IN ENGLISH? WHY there is no choice to chose weather to listen in French and read subtitles or listen in English? Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer