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4.4 out of 5 stars105
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 5 February 2011
People will likely fall into one of two categories of viewer. There will be those who first saw this film on general release some 24 years ago and fell in love with its originality, good acting and wonderful cinematography and there will be those like me who will be viewing the film for the first time. If you are in the latter category I promise not to give any of plot away. I think that it would be a real spoiler to come to this film the first time with any idea of the storyline. While there may be some clever souls who will guess the ending before it unfolds I will be quite happy to admit that it came to me as a complete surprise.

Irrespective of the clever plot and good acting I was completely blown away by the wonderful cinematography. And the picture quality on Blu-ray is absolutely outstanding. The inky detail of the blacks is simply stunning. There are quite a few dark scenes in this movie and the picture quality is every bit as good as the more recent movie, `Dark City'. Furthermore, on Angel Heart the choice of the locations is impressive and the film captures perfectly the atmosphere of mid 50's America.

In my opinion this is very much a film which you will be able to enjoy on repeated viewings, to savour the art of the cinematographer as well as to get a better understanding of the complexity of the plot. Yes, there are several murders and quite a lot of blood but I think you will be doing yourself a disservice if you choose not to buy for that reason. To a great extent the violence is retrospective and not in the same stomach wrenching category of `Saving Private Ryan'.

There are 2 choices of soundtrack, Dolby Stereo and an excellent DTS 5:1 mix. There is also a very good picture in picture menu system for chapter navigation - the film being divided into just 12 chapters. I have nothing but praise for the technical re-mastering of this film. I know that a few people have criticised the quality of the Blu-ray restoration. I can only assume that there must be something wrong with their equipment. Both the video and audio quality is simply amazing. Highly recommended!
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on 28 June 2005
This is one of Alan Parker's best films. Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is a private detective hired by a mysterious client (Robert de Niro) to look for a crooner called Johnny Favourite, who disappeared after World War II. As he gets closer to the truth, the people he talks to about Favourite die in horrible ways. The film is like a nightmare: recrurring, unexplained motifs--a whirring fan and an old-fashioned lift going up and down--that are disturbing, but you don't know why. This is not a film for the faint-hearted--be prepared for lots of killing (although most of it is off-screen) and voodoo. There is a twist in the tail that makes you want to go back and watch it again. This is Rourke's best performance ever, as a man who is slowly falling apart.
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on 4 December 2001
A work of genius... atmospheric, gripping, terrifyingly clever. Needs to be watched more than once to pick up on all the subtleties... like Robert de Niro throwing salt over his shoulder before he eats an egg - 'the symbol of the soul'.
Mickey Rourke has made some real duff films but in this he is brilliant, de Niro is as great as he always is and Lisa Bonet smoulders while Courtney Pine's saxophone haunts the film and the great use of lighting, close-ups and camera angles perfects the effects.
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on 29 October 2011
Very underrated movie from Alan Parker with a brilliant twist. The book Falling Angel on which it is based is superb also. Parker does the book justice although the action is relocated from New York to the Deep South. It doesn't really matter if you read the book or watch the movie first as both are great. Rourke is also at the top of his game here, his best performance in my view. He plays a down market P.I who tries to locate a missing person and gets drawn into much darker territory. My only slight quibble is that the UK blu-ray transfer isn't very good. Probably better to stick with dvd or import the US blu-ray which is far superior in terms of picture quality.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 October 2012
Angel Heart is directed by Alan Parker and written by William Hjortsberg (novel). It stars Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro and Lisa Bonet. Music is by Trevor Jones and cinematography by Michael Seresin.

Hired by the mysterious Louis Cyphre (De Niro), New York private investigator Harry Angel (Rourke) goes to New Orleans in search of missing WWII veteran Johnny Favourite. But once he gets into the case he finds that nothing much makes any sense. Especially as the bodies start to pile up.

A mix of detective mystery thriller laced with voodoo horror, nicely furnished with noirish photography and piped with a suitably eerie musical score, Angel Heart is a Sothern Gothic delight. The plot is a bit too murky for its own good at times, and credulity is stretched to breaking point, but the constant sense of unease and the off kilter flow of Harry Angel's journey, ensures its riveting from the start to its wonderfully twisted ending. Rourke is excellent, a ball of sleazy like confusion, De Niro isn't having to do much and he's not in it nearly enough, but never the less he commands the screen with that 80s presence he was so famed for. While Bonet lets go of all her homespun Cosby show niceties to unleash a naked and bloody woman of intrigue.

Enjoy the metaphors, enjoy the hoodwinking, enjoy the cast and certainly enjoy the impressive sheen cloaked all over it. Parker has fun making it, you should have fun watching it unravel in front of you. 7.5/10
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on 27 January 2005
Mickey Rouke stars as Private Eye Harry Angel who is given a job by the mysterious Louis Cypher (Robert de Niro). His remit is to find missing singer Johnny Favourite. Unfortunately for Harry the people he is investigating for the job have a habit of being found dead after he has talked to them. Naturally this puts Harry in the frame for murder.
The cinematography is first rate. Filmed for the most part in Louisiana, there is a real sense of oppression and gloom that makes for an uneasy atmosphere throughout and certainly adds to the tone of the film. Rouke is excellent as the deadbeat Harry a character that attracts and repels at the same time whilst De Niro is suitable sinister as Cypher.
Alan Parker has produced a film that is part psychological thriller, part occult-horror, but always gripping.
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on 21 February 2003
Most of Parker's films are visually interesting. This one is viscerally mesmerizing, as well, partly because he captures the essential undulent, oily sleaziness of the Big Easy so adroitly. I lived in New Orleans for five years and can spot a fraudulent, comercially bent take when I see one (Clint Eastwood comes to mind). Mickey Rourke was one of those hit or miss actors of the 90s (I was one of those who actually liked him in "Barfly"). In this instance he is more than adequate, and he rolls along with the punchy, quirky script like the prize fighter he longed to be. Lisa Bonet, as the Nubian Lolita, is perfectly cast. No need to provide spoilers here, but the ending is one of the all time greatest, where any ambiguity that the filmmaker might have set up for us is exquisitely resolved. Certainly not one of the deepest cinema excursions ever attempted, but one of the most enjoyable, particularly for those who like a little spice and suspense in their gumbo.
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on 6 June 2003
I first saw this film back when it was released and it still manages to shock me with its many twists and turns. Even now, there are things that you missed first, second etc times round. Probably the best film Mickey Rourke ever made and a cult (please excuse the pun) classic. And the atmospheric sound track just adds to the creeping sense of impending doom and the ending that you never saw coming.
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This is an intriguing, unusual, beautifully directed, highly atmospheric film that successfully crosses any number of genre: film noir, thriller, mystery, and horror. The plot is simple. In the mid nineteen fifties, a mysterious and slightly sinister business man, Louis Cypher (Robert De Niro), hires Brooklyn gumshoe, Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke), for a missing person case. Angel's investigation, for which he is being paid a princely sum for the time, takes him from Harlem to New Orleans, as he looks for a former crooner named Johnny Favorite, who sometime during the early nineteen forties apparently welched on a business deal with Louis Cypher and hasn't been heard from since.
What happens when Angel gets to New Orleans will be infused with voodoo rites, ritual murders and taboo sex. The Big Easy is hardly that for our erstwhile detective, as he becomes susceptible to a series of initially puzzling flashbacks. Moreover, it seems that everyone with whom he meets, who had a connection to our missing crooner, ends up being savagely murdered. When he meets with a tarot card reader (Charlotte Rampling), it is just the beginning of the end for our increasingly disheveled gumshoe. His introduction to the gorgeous Epiphany (Lisa Bonet), a seventeen year old voodoo queen, later leads to a coupling that is played with singularly wild abandon. Both of these women have a connection to our mysterious missing person, Johnny Favorite, who, it turns out, may have given the Devil a run for his money in the evil department.
Robert De Niro is sensational in the highly stylized, role of Louis Cypher. He imbues the role with just the right amount of sardonic humor and restrained menace so as to make the character memorable. De Niro leaves an indelible imprint on every scene in which he is in. Mickey Rourke, who is in nearly every scene in this film, shows that he has the ability to carry a movie, as he is simply terrific as the private detective who is slowly unraveling. As the film progresses, the toll that the investigation is taking on the tormented Angel is evident on his face. Angst ridden, bleary eyed, and disheveled, Angel is definitely involved in the biggest case of his life. As he gets closer to the truth of what happened to Johnny Favorite, the more his life seems to be spinning out of control. Rourke manages to convey all this, no easy task. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent and adds to the flavor of this delicious gumbo of a film, which is reminiscent of Goethe's Faust. Undoubtedly, this film is one of Alan Parker's best directorial efforts. Bravo!
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on 25 February 2005
Moody and atmospheric, this film charts the progress of Mickey Rourke's low down private detective hired by the brooding and mysterious Robert de Niro on the case of a missing singer.
Mixing a veritable potpourri of ideas and concepts this is an extremely visually stunning film taking the viewer from the mean streets of 1950's New York to the bluesy jazz filled countryside of Deep South Louisianna. It takes the many and varied flavours of the occult and voodoo and produces a dark and macabre film which does deliver.
Rourke plays his part extremely well and manages to get the audience to be revolted and yet sympathise with his loser character. De Niro hams it up slightly as evil personified but stills pulls off a most effective and chilling act. The other supporting cast do very well at their minor roles, especially Lisa Bonet although I question the gratuitous nudity slightly.
The running of the film can be quite quirky, from the classic gothic horror to puzzling randomness (the scene on the beach for example) and some of the dream-like scenes are verging on the revolting. The ending of the film is the most stunning sequence, when all the other threads are pulled together, and perhaps I'm just thick, but this came as a total surprise to me!
All in all personally not my favourite type of film, but for the fan of horror, this challenges more than the run of the mill blood and guts slasher movie and is well worth a watch.
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