Review: ‘Angel Exit’

Another in the seemingly endless string of DV-shot sagas involving drug use and doomed love among fashionably dissolute young and urban decay, "Angel Exit" is a dead end.

Another in the seemingly endless string of DV-shot sagas involving drug use and doomed love among fashionably dissolute young and urban decay, “Angel Exit” is a dead end. Much-anticipated pic from helmer Vladimir Michalek (“Forgotten Light,” “Sekal Must Die”) and lenser Martin Strba (Martin Sulik’s “The Garden”) performed gangbusters at home — including garnering a Czech Lion for something called “best design achievement” — but has severely limited export value beyond indulgent fests and novelty DV sidebars.

Amid the decaying infrastructure of the titular Prague neighborhood, young Mikes (Jan Cechticky) tries to go straight via sweet neighbor Jana (Zuzana Stivinova) but is dragged back into dope and theft by wild pal Lukas (Vojtech Pavlicek) and emaciated temptress Kaja (Klara Issova). Mikes accidentally invents a new narcotic while on a South African romp, but the quest to refill this prescription leads to the downfall of all concerned. Playing is energetic enough, but main plot twist is heavy-handed, and some segs seem to drag on forever. Tech credits are aggressively mannered, with Strba’s slushy, oversaturated images a novelty for the first reel or so but tough sledding thereafter.

Angel Exit

Czech Republic

Production

A Falcon release of a Buc Film production. (International sales: Buc, Prague.) Produced by Jaroslav Boucek. Directed by Vladimir Michalek. Screenplay, Michalek, Jachym Topol.

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Martin Strba; editor, Jiri Brozek; music, Jan Cechticky, Yarda Helesic. Reviewed at Karlovy Vary Film Festival (competing), July 11, 2001. Original title: Andel Exit. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Jan Cechticky, Klara Issova, Zuzana Stivinova, Vojtech Pavlicek, Pavel Landovsky, Eva Holubova.
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