Angel Heart (1987)

I have dim memories of this film actually making front page news here with a report about it being menaced with an X rating on account of that sex scene. Now that I’ve actually seen the film at last, I can kind of see why the MPAA freaked out at it; don’t know if the Australian DVD release is uncut or not, but either that’s quite a lot of blood involved in what is definitely meant as a horror scene as opposed to the usual bit of bump & grind. Apart from that, though, I never really knew much about the film other than, you know, Bob De Niro as Louis Cyphre OH MY ACHING SIDES and Mickey Rourke & Lisa Bonet doing the dirty thing, never really actively sought it out and have really only seen it now cos I discovered a friend had it and I thought I may as well see what the fuss was about way back when… Fairly well-made (director Alan Parker summons up an impressively grotty atmosphere, particularly in the voodoo-soaked Louisiana town) and not a bad story, rather rundown private detective is hired by an enigmatic and very well-paying figure to find a missing person, informants all end up dead as he investigates, missing person is apparently determined not to be found. Or is he? Cos at the end there’s a twist, which leaves you asking “hang on, does that actually make sense or not?”. For me it left Cyphre’s motivation frankly confused; if he knows who and where his missing person is, and presumably has done all along, why does he go about things in the way he does? Unless you want to argue that, you know, this is the sort of thing the Devil would do just because he could, or something like that. Shame that kind of spoiled the film, which had otherwise been OK if not exactly startling.

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