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Angel Eyes

THE new offering from director Luis Message in a Bottle Mandoki is a bit of an empty chocolate box.

Angel Eyes

THE new offering from director Luis Message in a Bottle Mandoki is a bit of an empty chocolate box. At first glance it looks great, but when you look a little closer it turns out to be a huge disappointment.

Jennifer Lopez stars as tough, no-nonsense cop Sharon Pogue who works a high-crime district in the South Side of Chicago. Her dedication to duty is matched only by the hair trigger that her temper is constantly on.

We first meet her on duty as the film begins at the scene of an horrific road accident, seen from the point of view of one of the victims of the crash as she battles to keep them alive.

Although her work puts her into danger on a daily basis the level of anger she displays is intense and hints at a deeper, more personal trauma that she really doesn't want to talk about.

In fact she doesn't want to talk to anyone, she's been estranged from her family for years, and her social life is definitely on the critical list.

Following a drive-by shooting, Sharon and her partner (Terrence Howard) take off after the gunmen. Ignoring her partner's calls to wait for back-up Sharon chases her target into a derelict building and manages to get herself ambushed.

Things do not look good for our heroine as she is left looking down the wrong end of a gun - until, as if by magic, a mysterious good Samaritan appears and tackles the assassin, saving Sharon's life.

The strange hero is a man named Catch (Caviezel), a sort of monosyllabic guardian angel who spends his days wandering around the city in a daze performing small acts of kindness. Was is just luck that brought him there? Or is there more of a connection between the two?

It seems so as the two damaged individuals begin an uneasy relationship based on the fact that the past, for both of them, is a taboo subject.

Atmospherically shot in dreamy muted tones that give it an eerie Sixth Sense supernatural feeling, Angel Eyes begins full of promise, but then manages to spiral quickly earthbound again.

The main problem is that the film is suffering from a major case of schizophrenia, it doesn't know if it wants to be a psychological thriller, a melodrama, a romance, a family drama or a supernatural chiller.

So it has elements of all of these and leaves the viewer with the uneasy feeling that something awful is about to happen. Nothing wrong with that, but when the 'twist' is finally revealed it is, well, surprisingly underwhelming and leaves the viewer feeling cheated.

Lopez gives a good performance as the psychologically damaged cop who is struggling to come to terms with being punished for doing the right thing after making a moral decision in her past.

Caviezel's character gives new meaning to the word denial as he spends most of the film looking like a better-looking version of Forrest Gump, either wandering around eyes half closed performing good deeds, or lolling around in his stripped bare apartment - hinting at some supernatural existence.

But the two of them are completely kyboshed with a script that is often toe-curlingly bad, dialogue like "Kiss me somewhere I've never been kissed before" will have you squirming in your seat.

By the end of the film, I was left with more questions than I had at the start. Add this to a tacked on ending which makes the faux happy ending in Blade Runner Oscar-worthy and you are left feeling that this was an exercise in missed opportunities and misplaced emotion.

It's only saving grace is that it doesn't plumb for an overload of happy family ever after. The tagline on for Angel Eyes is 'The Deeper You Look. The More You Will Find.' Erm, sorry not really.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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