A cop asks our “”hero” if that’s his gun up the dead girl’s “”snatch.” You know the film I’m talking about is one of Mickey Rourke’s best (if not his best). It’s “”Angel Heart,” a movie that gets better with each viewing.

When the film came out it was “”controversial” because one of the Cosby kids (Lisa Bonet, for those who don’t remember) bared her breasts and got a little wild. (It was her “”snatch” that was referenced to at the end of the film.) That controversy kind of overshadowed the film, which was also raising eyebrows for a sex scene that played out in a rain of blood. It’s too bad those are the things the film is remembered for because it is truly a phenomenal piece of work that is as layered as it is mystifying.

I doubt many actors could pull off what Rourke did in that film. How many could play a man in search of his soul in the voodoo drenched slums of New Orleans and make it seem believable? How many films could make the appearance of a fan seem so menacing? Who can forget De Niro peeling that egg? Louis Cyphre, indeed.

If you go into the film cold, you have no idea what to really expect. Little things slip by. It isn’t until after you’ve watched it for the second, third, fourth and fifth time that you start to pick up all the symbolism and foreshadowing. And this ain’t no “”The Usual Suspects” type of spring-it-on-you-at-the-end cop out, either. The answers were there all along. You just didn’t know what you were looking for.

It amazes me that “”Angel Heart” still doesn’t get the respect it has rightly (at least in my opinion) earned. It maintains a timeless feel and still dazzles me with how smart it played everything. Sure, there are flaws, but I’ll put this movie up against “”Citizen Kane” any day, as that is a pompous, overrated boor of a movie. “”Angel Heart” is subtle in all the right places and grotesque in others — but it all fits. It’s a journey, and you’re never quite sure of the destination.

People often point out how great the twist in “”The Sixth Sense” was, and I’ll admit it was well-handled. Unfortunately, I guessed the ending ten minutes into it, so there was no surprise factor for me. I wish all those people who saw that movie could sit through “”Angel Heart.” If they could stomach the film (which isn’t all that rough), I imagine they’d have a whole new definition of “”twist ending.”

I also understand that not everyone has the same opinion of this film as do I. I think some of their criticisms are probably warranted and others not. (I had one woman tell me she didn’t like the movie because it had “”too many creepy black people.”) That’s okay by me; it doesn’t change my opinion of the film one bit.

If you haven’t experienced “”Angel Heart,” I suggest you do so ASAP. If it’s been a few years, revisit. It’s better than anything that’s in the theatre these days. Watch it for the little things. See how it all fits. Then sit back and let it all sink in.

The answer to the question? Yeah, that’s his gun. But did you ever wonder who really pulled the trigger?

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  1. Dave Lawler says:

    I couldn’t agree more! “Angel Heart” was one of the great gems of late 80’s intellectual horror and farce.

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