The hardboiled 1940s private-eye movie tradition goes south in director Alan Parker’s outlandish thriller, slipping its metropolitan moorings amid a world of sin, superstition and voodoo.
It’s 1955 and Mickey Rourke is New York private dick Harry Angel, the seediest of gumshoes, whose commission from the mysterious Louis Cyphre (a long-fingernailed Robert De Niro) takes him down to New Orleans in search of a singer who’s gone missing in suspicious, occult-tinged circumstances.
As one gruesome murder follows another, Parker piles on the atmospherics, relishing the heady heat haze and shabby exoticism of the American subtropics as the backdrop for the story’s Faustian powerplay.
Ceiling fans whirr wheezily, an elevator descends with endless, portentous menace, locals writhe with berserk abandon during a black mass, and a bedroom pours with blood in the course of a (highly controversial) sex scene.
Parker’s intense, nightmarish, style is used to the hilt in this combination private-eye and occult horror film.
A superb production design enhances the exotic story which involves murder and voodoo from Manhattan to New Orleans, and anyone who says they saw the twist in this movie coming is bullshitting!
Robert De Niro
Pruitt Taylor Vince
Loys T. Bergeron