Angel EyesThursday 30 Aug 2001
Directed by Luis Mandoki. Starring Jennifer Lopez, Jim Caviezel, Sonia Braga and Terence Howard.
Taking as its starting point the saving of someone's life, Angel Eyes is a love story about damaged people. A tough Chicago cop (Lopez), who has learned to bury her emotions professionally, crosses paths with a man unlike any other she has ever met (Caviezel). Uncharacteristically letting her guard down, she finds herself forming a personal relationship with the mysterious stranger. The object of her attentions, who appears to be wandering around in a type of half-life, gradually begins to reveal his 'angelic' qualities, which are of the earthly rather than supernatural kind.
This is a film which earnestly attempts to explore the notion of how a traumatic past does not automatically preclude a happy future, with the saving of someone's life coming to have metaphorical meaning later in the movie. However, in the hands of mainstream Hollywood, any potential subtlety has been drowned by a totally predictable storyline and a hammering home of the emotion. Given that this is, in part, an exploration of the paralysis of grief, it is surprising just quite how unengaging a tale this is. Any acting talent is undermined by the use of caricature rather than characterisation as well as a seemingly incessant series of lingering close-ups.
Although the loneliness of a modern urban existence is well-conveyed in 'Angel Eyes', attempts at representing some of the more intense or profound aspects of the human condition fall spectacularly flat. The film's trite title is wholly appropriate for what is basically patience-trying two-dimensional fare. To sum up – utter drivel.