Angel-A Luc Besson

Angel-A Luc Besson
Luc Besson is back in business, and he’s just as cloying as ever. Besson’s new film is a combination of It’s a Wonderful Life and Wings of Desire that isn’t nearly as good as either.

Jamel Debbouze stars as Andre, an Arab-American expatriate in Paris who’s welshed on a few bets and defaulted on a few loan sharks. In need of cash and lacking options, he contemplates jumping into the Seine when he spies beautiful Angela (Rie Rasmussen) plunge into the drink and decides to save her. She in turn decides to save him by engaging in what looks like hanky-panky to get him out of his debts, and she has a divine secret that she’s loathe to tell him. Much of this is standard lovey-dovey gush about believing in yourself with a bit of heavenly fantasy fiction thrown in for good measure, and if you’re not in the mood for such pie in the sky bull you’ll be in for a rough ride.

Still, the movie doesn’t cause the intense groaning that The Fifth Element induced thanks to its smaller scale and more intimate character relations, as well as Theirry Arbogast’s lovely black and white cinematography of Paris’s more attractive environs. The film has been linked to Amélie for both its sunny romantic outlook and total erasure of nonwhites in the City of Light, and it’s sure to cause a few street fights between entertainment-craving audiences and sophisticates in search of something more.

For my money, it’s not exactly a fully formed movie but it’s at least less ludicrous than the director’s past output and boasts some pretty pictures to look at. If that’s all you want, that’s all you’ll get. (Mongrel Media)