RATED - (R) -117-MIN-1987
Angel Heart is Rourke at his finest
When I was a younger man in the early eighties, I saw this very good and steamy murder mystery called: (Body Heat) directed by one of my favorite filmmakers: (Lawrence Kasden). It starred two great actors: the brilliant (Willaim Hurt) and a very hot (Kathleen Turner). It is a classic film that you should see. So, in this movie, there was a guy, who had a small part, playing an arsonist who helps (Hurt) figure out a way to start a fire for a crime he is going to commit. (Hurt) is this guy's lawyer, which is pretty funny.
So this guy, who you absolutely could not take your eyes off of, was named: (Mickey Rourke) and he had whatever that "it" thing was. This movie got him great notice, and he became a star, but different than most. He wasn't conventional, and he did seem to gravitate to different roles. I found him to be an actor who totally committed to his part, and he had all these little tics and mannerisms that made (Rourke) stand out in the roles he would play the next few years.
One of those movies, of which I had the poster on my bedroom wall, was Alan Parker's 1987 murder mystery/supernatural drama: (Angel Heart). It was controversial for a couple of reasons: most notably for the sex scenes involving (Rourke) and a very young (Lisa Bonet) who was on the number one comedy on TV at the time: (The Cosby Show). Don't get me started...I hated that show...sorry.
The story of (Angel Heart) is actually been told many times before, but Parker's gloomy, gritty and foreboding film, has a different feeling; as it is part classic noir, and part contemporary supernatural thriller. Watching it again was great fun, and it is worth watching, if you haven't for several reasons. First, It is one of (Rourke's) finest roles when he was in his prime, and (Robert De Niro) has a critical supporting role as the mysterious man who hires him (you can't beat that).The pace of the film, is rather brisk also, and you will be engaged in this movie I just love.
Harry Angel (Rourke) is a private eye in 1950's New York. He is small time and a bit of a mess. During the war, he had shell shock and was discharged. Now, just barely getting by, Angel does small time stuff, until one day he gets a call from a lawyer, who wants Angel to meet him and his client in Harlem. When he arrives there, he is taken to a room above a church by the lawyer who called him. There a strange man sitting in a chair, on a small altar, with a dark beard and long pulled back hair is waiting for him. He introduces himself as Louis Cyphre (De Niro doing an homage to Scorsese, I have heard). Harry feels uneasy around this strange man with very long nails, but he listens to his proposition, as Cyphre asks him to look for a man: Johnny Favourite who has gone missing and owes him a debt. Apparently, Johnny, who was a singer, has disappeared and because of some incident, he might not even know who he is anymore. Angel finds this very odd, but the money is good, so he hesitantly takes the job from the creepy Cyphre. (De Nero) and (Rourke) only have a few scenes together, but each one is great, as you know that this is a bit of cat and mouse...two great actors duking it out. The scene, later in a southern church,bewtween the two, is classic.
The story now involves Harry Angel tracing Johnny's steps from the hospital he was sent to after the war, and then down to Lousiana, where Johnny fled to and was involved in some shady stuff that involved black magic. As Harry digs deeper into the mysteries of the south, learning more about Johnny and who he was, he meets up with his daughter, who Johnny never knew: Epiphany Proudfoot (Lisa Bonet). Epiphany is a very confident and beautiful woman with a small child, and Harry is intrigued by her. She also happens to be a voodoo priestess, and Harry sees one of their rituals when he follows an old band member of Johnny's, after his gig, to a ceremony out tin the bayou. There is some creepy stuff going on, somehow relating back to a scene shown several times, of a large apartment building with only one window lit, and screaming can be heard inside.Something horrible happened here, and as Harry digs the charters reveal little pieces of this fateful event.
(Angel Heart) is a very creepy, gory, and moody piece of filmmaking by the director: (Alan Parker) who has made some intense films before this like (Midnight Express) (Mississippi Burning) and (Pink Floyd:The Wall). It is very dark, wet, cold and hot film, with lots of haunting images. (Rourke) is at the top of his game here, and it's no wonder he was in such high demand at the time. He has the very rare gift as an actor of playing characters who are rough and at the same time, very vulnerable. You really are rooting for this poor guy, as he sinks deeper into the darkness.
watch the trailer: