Title: Angel Heart (1987)
Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Lisa Bonet, Charlotte Rampling & Robert De Niro
Harry Angel (Rourke) is a private detective from Brooklyn who usually works only small, uncomplicated cases. One day he is approached by a mysterious man named Louis Cyphre (De Niro), who wishes him to find a man named Johnny Favourite, who owes a death to Cyphere. Angel is reluctant to take on the case, but can’t turn down the money he is offered. After getting a tip-off from a friend of Johnny’s old girlfriend, Angel heads down to New Orleans, where he is definitely an outsider. He is met with resistance and suspicion at every turn and things get even stranger once he encounters the beautiful Epiphany Proudfoot (Bonet), who is Favourite’s daughter. He eventually gets embroiled in a highly convoluted search, involving chickens, Voodoo rituals and a guitar-player named Toots Sweet. As the story progresses Angel starts to doubt his own sanity and wonders if he will ever find the elusive, Johnny Favourite.
Mickey Rourke gives one of his most memorable and famous roles as the out of his depth investigator. He freely admits that this type of case is new to him and he really must learn on the job. This performance was before his face was battered thanks to his boxing career and facial reconstruction, so he looks rather fresh-faced.
Lisa Bonet gives a very good performance as the alluring and enticing teenager with the memorable name. She was strongly advised to pass on the role as it was a complete departure from her wholesome image on The Cosby Show. Obviously she didn’t listen to those words of warning and she proved that she was not miscast. Unfortunately for her her eye-catching role didn’t lead to any other acting jobs of note. Robert De Niro has several brief, but highly memorable appearances in the film as the long-haired, long-nailed and bearded Louis Cyphre. Like his brief role in The Untouchables (also 1987) he makes the most of his screen-time to deliver a quality part.
Angel Heart was directed by British director Alan Parker, and like his previous film Midnight Express, this movie drips with atmosphere and tension. His use of unconventional camera angles, mood lighting and wonderful locations really makes you feel as if you are immersed in the story with Harry Angel. The score and soundtrack are also top-notch and really help with the atmosphere and mood.
The on-form cast, masterful atmosphere and the wonderful 1950s setting make Angel Heart a classic in the thriller/horror genres.