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
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