An Angelic Idea

I've long been a fan of Luc Besson. I think Natalie Portman's debut in The Professional was the first time I encountered him. After seeing that and The Fifth Element (and maybe La Femme Nikita; I don't remember the ordering vis a vis that one), I was definitely sold. So I've seen a large percentage of his movies to date (which reminds me, I should go over his filmography to see what I've missed. In any event, I finally was able to watch Angel-A recently (well, probably a month or more ago). I hadn't written about it before now, because I kept thinking I'd have more to say about it than what'll come out here, but I give up.

(And now that I'm looking at it, I kept this in my cart for months, waiting for it to drop in price. It finally did, and I bought it, and now it's dropped almost 20% more since then. *sigh*)

I did enjoy watching it, but two things kept bothering me about the whole idea: why him, and why would an angel use such underworld tactics. It just doesn't fit. They did spend quite a while talking about the 'why him' part, but I just couldn't find it convincing. I think it was the disco scene that blew away any rationales they might have come up with. If he was such a great person as to deserve that sort of intervention, why did he allow her to do what he thought she was doing (or what she actually was doing, come to that)? Yes, he felt terrible about it, but he didn't actually do anything; he just sat and drank himself half-blind.

Plus, the way that they "resolved" his problems was really a huge cop-out. It was just him taking control of his "deus ex machina", and telling his creditors to piss off. I guess there's an element of him taking over, and not having her direct where things are going, but it was kind of... hollow, I guess.

And the underworld tactics bothered me, because if ethics apply, then they have to apply always to have any meaning. If they don't apply always, then they're just pretty words without force. I'm tempted to go off on a bit of a tangent here about political hypocrisy, particularly with respect to terrorism, but I think I'll hold off for now.

The part that I did like was that the interaction between Angela and Andre was very good. It was tense when it needed to be, and relaxed when appropriate. And the way he saved her at the end was very good. But that was only enough to stretch my enjoyment to the end of the movie. It didn't survive any significant analysis, I'm sad to say.

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