An original thriller that puts a twist on the well-worn serial killer
theme by introducing the paranormal. While this itself may have been done
to death by the X-Files, it works here. Gregory Hoblit's direction is
tight, the blend of noirish landscapes and demonic viewpoints is effective,
and there is a strong central performance by the ever-reliable Denzel
That the baddies are fallen angels seeking civilization's destruction
requires some plausible force. Washington provides a solid anchor. As
John Hobbs, a decent, honest cop who lives with his brother and nephew,
he initially treats everything with scepticism. But his outlook gradually
changes when he accepts the tangibility of the potent demonic forces facing
him. His courage prevails, even when he often appears to be fighting
a solitary battle against evil.
John Goodman is Jonesy, his tubby partner who mouths clichés like
"somebody's playing with my dick and it ain't me." The twist here is
that his jovial personality eventually inherits the evil demon. In
time-honoured style, Donald Sutherland plays the cynical police chief.
The storyline is original, combining conspiracy theories with what one
character describes as an 'evil spirit Mafia.' Because the spirits travel
through touch, in a form of supernatural 'tig,' this makes for some
thrilling encounters. Hobbs is hounded up to the climactic scene, pursued
by demons and his own colleagues alike.
At time it seems as if pure-hearted Hobbs is alone in tackling this seemingly
unbeatable foe. This ensures the suspense it maintained up to the
The film enjoys a similar design to Seven with the shirt-sleeved detectives
lurking in offices where it never stops raining beyond the blinds. The
tension is maintained by zany technicolour camera angles being used when
the demon is on the prowl.
Fallen is an original slant on a familiar theme, elevated by a fine performance by Washington.
Copyright © 2001 Mark Fleming