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An Angel of the Lord

Neither fish nor fowl, listless live-action fairytale "An Angel of the Lord" is well made and sporadically clever, but fails to balance celestial life lessons with a pervasive sense of seasonal wonder. Pic could flesh out some kidfests, but tube and ancillary buys seem pic's best gifts.

With:
With: Ivan Trojan, Jiri Dvorak, Josef Somr, Oldrich Navratil, Jana Stepankova, Zuzana Stivinova, David Svehlik, Zuzana Kajnarova, Jiri Bartoska, Klara Issova, Gabriela Osvaldova, Anna Geislerova.

Neither fish nor fowl, listless live-action fairytale “An Angel of the Lord” is well made and sporadically clever, but fails to balance celestial life lessons with a pervasive sense of seasonal wonder. Pic could flesh out some kidfests, but tube and ancillary buys seem pic’s best gifts.

Inept angel Petronel (local star Ivan Trojan) is sent by God (Karlovy Vary fest prez Jiri Bartoska, in a white wig making him look like Peter Falk) to reform at least one sinner prior to Christmas Eve. Dogged by devil and “infernal freak” Uriah (Jiri Dvorak), Petronel, dressed as monk, struggles to help winsome Dorotka (Zuzana Kajnarova). Banter between Trojan and Dvorak is sporadically clever, but earthbound story is hand-wringing melodrama elevated only by Zuzana Stivinova’s dastardly turn as court schemer Francka. Blink and you’ll miss “Zelary” star Anna Geislerova as a fellow seraph. Former kiddy star Jiri Strach is a capable helmer, but pic as a whole lacks spark. Fine lensing is punctuated by so-so CGI. Built around Christian hymn “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” vibrant symphonic score is major plus.

An Angel of the Lord

Czech Republic

Production: A Warner Bros. CR release (in the Czech Republic), of a Czech TV, Hoo Doo production. (International sales: Czech TV Telexport, Prague.) Produced by Magdalena Sedlakova, Pavla Tomsova. Directed by Jiri Strach. Screenplay, Lucie Konasova.

Crew: Camera (color), Petr Polak; editor, Zdenek Patocka; music, Milos Bok; art director, Jiri Vesely; costume designer, Jarmila Konecna. Reviewed on videocassette, Sydney, Australia, April 14, 2006. (In Finale Plzen Film Festival --competing.) Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: Ivan Trojan, Jiri Dvorak, Josef Somr, Oldrich Navratil, Jana Stepankova, Zuzana Stivinova, David Svehlik, Zuzana Kajnarova, Jiri Bartoska, Klara Issova, Gabriela Osvaldova, Anna Geislerova.

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