DVD
Angel Heart: Special Edition

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, Charlotte Rampling and Lisa Bonet
Momentum Pictures
RRP: 17.99
MP460D
Certificate: 15
Available 21 September 2006


Harry Angel is your usual down trodden and scruffy gun shoe, taking enough cases to keep the wolf from the door. That is until Louis Cyphre turns up with an interesting and potentially profitable proposition. It seems that Louis is looking for Johnny Favourite, a singer who broke his contract. As Harry investigates Johnny's disappearance people around him start to die. Before the missing man is found Harry travels to hell and back before making a deal with the devil...

Angel Heart (1987) was directed by Alan Parker from his own screenplay of the original novel by William Hjortberg. The film was generally well received and won Lisa Bonet a Young Artist Award in 1988 and was nominated three times for a Saturn Award from the Academy of Science fiction, Fantasy and Horror films.

While there can be few who haven't already seen the film, or know the twist in the end, I'll try and avoid this just in case. This has got to be Mickey Rourke's best film prior to Sin City (although my other half would disagree and place Nine and a Half Weeks at the top of her list, for reasons she wouldn't discuss) Rourke inhabits his character with such ease it's easy to think that this is what Rourke is really like. Harry looks like he's been dragged down the street during a particularly bad hangover and has all the attributes of a dammed soul. Robert De Niro is... well... Robert De Niro - one of the greatest actors of our time and, whilst this is not his greatest role, his inclusion adds gravitas to an already good film. Lisa Bonet plays Harry's love interest, though she is the ultimate in being careful what you wish for as you just might get it, and ultimately is the cause of his downfall.

Part film noir and part horror film, doom permeates the film right from the beginning, shot so that most of the primary colours have been washed out as it was Parker's intention to make a black and white film in colour. New Orleans, where Harry's quest to find himself comes to fruition, is presented as a character in itself. Like the rest of the film it is beautifully shot.

So, if you're a fan of the film you most probably already have a copy so why should you buy another version? Well, for once, it is the extras which sell this disc. On the main disc you get an informative full length director's commentary; the original theatre trailer; an introduction and interview with Alan Parker; a making of feature; personality profiles of Rourke, Parker and Bonet; a photo gallery; and a behind the scenes feature. If that didn't whet your appetite then the second feature crammed disc just might. But before you get too excited, apart from a single interview with Parker, the other six features deal with the practice of Voodoo - often putting the Voodoo rituals in the film in context. The film is presented in Dolby surround sound which does a good job, but a 5.1 mix would have been preferable.

In the end the film belongs to Rourke and his stunning performance, makes you wonder what happened to his career afterwards.

Charles Packer

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All prices correct at time of going to press.