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
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