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Angel Eyes

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Angel Eyes

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Jim Caviezel
Director: Luis Mandoki
Rated: R
RunTime: 104 Minutes
Release Date: May 2001
Genres: Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Alfonso Arau, Jeremy Sisto, Sonia Braga

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
2.  Harvey Karten read the review ---
3.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

In ANGEL EYES, Sharon Pogue is a tough-as-nails Chicago police officer. She's the type who hangs out at the bar after work, belting beers with the boys from the precinct. Although she can trade insults with the best of them, she's really a sad loner who is never more uncomfortable than when she attempts dating.

Combining a bit of her charm from THE WEDDING PLANNER and her intrigue from THE CELL, Jennifer Lopez, as Officer Pogue, is one of the two reasons to see ANGEL EYES. The other is her costar, James Caviezel (FREQUENCY and PAY IT FORWARD), who plays an illusive character known as Catch -- no last name. Catch is a Good Samaritan who turns off people's car lights and knocks on neighbors' doors when they leave the keys in them. More comfortable in the shadows than in the light, he is a nervous type who wanders aimlessly through dangerous streets at night. (His happiness can be seen in strange ways. The happier he is, the more often he shaves.)

The biggest argument against seeing ANGEL EYES comes from its MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE team of director Luis Mandoki and writer Gerald Di Pego. An uneven story that moves in fits and spurts, it has trouble ever quite deciding what it wants to be. Not a romance, per se, although there is an obligatory sex scene, which is both brief and bland, the film is more of an exploration of two characters' lives.

Catch, for example, may or may not be alive. Is he a ghost, an angel, a trauma victim or what? Sharon, who grew up in an abusive family, appears to be hiding some secrets of her own. Catch and Sharon, who share an easily guessed bond, form a mutual help group. Their relationship is awkward since they both suffer from various forms of denial.

One thing is certain, the movie is in no rush to get wherever it is going. One character, a mysterious shut-in, Elanora (Shirley Knight), asks, "Why does everybody have to rush everything these days?" The line feels rather like a lecture to the audience to stop being impatient.

At its best, the movie can drive home some excellent points with the best of these showing how a single moment in one's life can be so incredibly precious or tragic. But the proof of the story's effectiveness comes in the end. Catch and Sharon each have what are obviously designed to be three-hankie scenes, but both leave you completely dry-eyed. One thing is certain, you can't fault the acting since it is splendid throughout.

ANGEL EYES runs a long 1:44. It is rated R for language, violence and a scene of sexuality and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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