I’ve had this dream before …

Golden Mug

Cinematography (Thierry Arbogast)

Theatrical Release Date: 12/21/2005 (France), 05/25/2007 (USA)
Director: Luc Besson
Cast: Jamel Debbouze, Rie Rasmussen

After just seeing “Paris, je t’aime” and finally watching “Arthur and the Invisibles“, I suppose it’s fitting that “Angel-A” just opened in town and now I can wrap up my week of Luc Besson and Paris.

“Angel-A” is a black and white film set in Paris, where an angel comes down from you know where to help out a good man who’s cornered himself and has no place to turn.

From a Luc Besson standpoint, this story is very reflective of his filmmaking; a sweet and vulnerable person being protected by a strong guardian angel (of sorts) with a cute and fuzzy interior to go along with their outward strength.

This motif is evident in most of his work, whether he directed or just wrote it, i.e. “Leon”, “Fifth Element”, “Wasabi”, etc. etc.

Used again here, much more literally, “Angel-A” succeeds in that respect. Jamel Debbouze is the kind of underdog that is easy for audiences to root for and Rie Rasmussen is the kind of angel most men have been fantasizing about since their first wet dream.

The actors all do their job well enough and manage to toe that Bessonesque line between drama, comedy and surrealism. The movie looks very good and I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been so busy lately, I’m so used to it by now, or for what reason but it didn’t even occur to me that the film was in black and white until about ten minutes in.

I suppose that’s a backhanded compliment, since I thought the look of the film was excellent and it helped make the angel all dressed in black even more striking on screen.

Perhaps my biggest complaints come from the rushed nature of the film. At just over an hour and half, Besson crams in the development of the main characters’ relationship and it feels a little forced by the end sequence.

Also, in regards to the ending and trying not to give anything away, the effects felt very “Clash of the Titans” … and not in the good way.

Still, fans of his work will be adequately satiated by the film and since many of the fantastical elements the plot hints at are kept to a minimum, I think the average moviegoer will be able to find the sweetness as well.

I’m going to bestow a 3 out of 5 to “Angel-A”. While I thought the performances and look of the film were good, I could have done with a rewritten ending (though because it’s Luc Besson, I’m willing to give it a pass). Now if I could only figure out how to get my own smoking hot Danish angel …