Review: ‘An Angel’

A contempo gangster extravaganza sufficiently tragic to make the ancient Greeks weep, "An Angel" pours on the violence, sex and betrayal -- with a side order of supernatural guidance -- from a spout the size of Niagara Falls.

A contempo gangster extravaganza sufficiently tragic to make the ancient Greeks weep, “An Angel” pours on the violence, sex and betrayal — with a side order of supernatural guidance — from a spout the size of Niagara Falls. An earnest poor relation to the tone and scope of “The Godfather: Part III,” this lavishly lensed, Marseilles-set pic is marketable wherever auds are willing to overlook the pretentiousness to get to the torture and bloodshed.

The day she’s released from prison, Lea (Elsa Zylberstein) is met by her handsome teenage brother, Sammy (Vincent Martinez), who is being staked out by plainclothes cop David (Richard Berry). David, who unwisely has his 9-month-old son in the car, mistakenly shoots Sammy dead and Lea, unaware that he killed her brother, is drawn toward the now-suspended cop, whose son has fallen into the hands of a powerful psychopath, Zak (Pascal Greggory). Zak wants a missing two kilos of heroin Sammy had. Pic devolves into literal overkill at a 90th birthday party Zak throws for a now-blind oracle who built a crime empire on connections with rotten police and politicians. Solemn operatic finish is a hair’s breadth from parody.

An Angel

France

Production

A UIP release of an IMA Prods., M6 Films Prod., Le Studio Canal Plus production. (International sales: M6, Paris.) Produced by Georges Benayoun. Executive producer, Veronique Rofe. Directed by Miguel Courtois. Screenplay, Olivier Douyere, Denis Parent, Pierre-Henry Salfati, Laurent Vivier.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Dominique Bouilleret; editor, Marie-Helene Quinton; art director, Denis Mercier; costume designer, Mimi Lempicka. Reviewed at UGC Cine Cite Les Halles, Paris, July 2, 2001. Original title: Un ange. Running time: 121 MIN.

With

Richard Berry, Elsa Zylberstein, Pascal Greggory, Bernard Le Coq, Vincent Martinez, Virginie Lanoue, Nicolas Silberg, Helene Duc.
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