Movie of the Day – Angel-A

Wah!  Two black and white films back to back, yeah I know, but trust in my judgement and selection of movies.  Now I don’t have a lot of favorite romantic flicks in my wheel house to basically drool over.  I find a lot of them weak and uninteresting, but then again I am a guy and the typical two star crossed lovers coming together against all odds really just gets hammered home all the time.  My choice of 3-Iron was probably my first romantic film, but the selection of that movie was based on the beautiful story telling of the movie done without the use of dialogue.  So while I typically avoid Romance movies, I am intrigued when I find a particular director or an interesting premise that makes their way into a romance movie.  Luc Besson isn’t what I would consider a romantic director.  I mean I guess his hitman movie Léon could be about a relationship, in a Lolita sort of way, but his sort of avant-garde, arthouse flick Angel-A is his first actual attempt at a romantic movie.  So setting aside his usual gun fare and stoic killers, Angel-A is deals with the intertwined fate of two people, both needing to have a clean slate in life.

Andre (Jamel Debbouze) is a reformed criminal, drowning in debt that he owes to a ruthless gangster, has only 24 hours to pay off his debt before something bad happens to him.  Feeling that it is hopeless, Andre decides to end it all, only to find that he is not alone in his attempt to end his life.  A tall, beautiful woman is also on the same bridge as he is and attempting to kill herself.  Andre tries to talk the woman down, but she jumps and Andre goes after her and saves her life.  The woman named Angela (Rie Rasmussen) thanks Andre and pledges to help Andre clear his debt.  Andre is skeptical since a gorgeous woman like Angela would never agree to even be close to him.  Angela not only squares his debt, but also changes Andre into a better man.  Now it is up to Andre to finally change his ways and go after the woman he has fallen in love with.

Now I will admit that this movie reminded me a lot of Wings of Desire, where in an angel tires of overseeing human life and tries to find love with a mortal man.  Wings of Desire is a fantastic movie, but Angel-A doesn’t really push the angel aspect of Angela so much.  There are certain little nods and winks here and there, but it is implied that Angela is an angel, but the imagery in the movie is interesting as it frames her angelic features.  While Wings of Desire is a far superior movie, Angel-A does have a lot of charm when it comes to the lead played by Jamel Debbouze, who you might remember more from Amelie.  He plays a very convincing, down on his luck man and the feeling that he is made small and helpless by others framed nicely against the tall stature of Angela.

The relationship between the two characters is fun to watch.  Angela is more or less used to getting her way because of her beauty and the fact that she is angelic.  So watching her string along Andre in the movie through dangerous situations and funny, situation humor is endearing and genuine.  Both play off one another so well and the change in Andre is real and you feel for his predicament.  Andre has to make a choice to throw himself back into the fray to fight for Angela to stay with him.  It is the build up and culmination of what Angela has done for him that makes the payoff satisfying.

While the movie didn’t get a lot of love from critics or even the viewing going public, the movie is a solid love story and more or less, having Luc Besson try his hand at a romantic love story is intriguing to me.  That and the movie is like Wings of Desire, but not as good.  You are wanting a little quirky, French love story, this is for you.  If you are a fan of Luc Besson, try this out.  It is a bit outside of wheelhouse, but a solid entry into his filmography.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

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