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
It seems like a straightforward case when detective Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is hired by Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to find missing singer Johnny Favourite. However, before long the trail has led him to Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet) and a mysterious occult world in which everyone he questions seems to wind up dead. No matter what he finds out along the way, nothing will prepare Harry for what awaits him at the end of his quest.