Sunday, June 2, 2013

Touched by an Angel

Luc Besson's Angel-A (2005) is a strange duck. It's all in black and white, and has a plot that Frank Capra could have written, but it does't come across as old-fashioned.

It's about American in Paris, but he isn't an artist or dancer. He's a small-time criminal of Moroccan descent, played by Jamel Debbouze, who owes money to everyone, and is probably going to die over it. As he is getting ready to jump off a quaint Parisian bridge into the Seine, he meets a girl who is jumping too, and saves her life - and forgets to kill himself.

The girl is Rie Rassmussen, an unbelievably leggy blonde in a tiny minidress, who is so grateful to be saved, she promises to do anything for Debbouze. So what does a funny looking little North African want from a blonde about a foot taller than him? Money, of course, but he didn't expect her to turn tricks to get it!

Debbouze has a great face for comedy, a little Cantinflas, but always worried, always serious. He's a fast talking loser, and nothing ever works out for him. Rasmussen, his angel, tells him that it is because he is always lying. She never has that kind of problem, possibly because she is a tall, cool chick with serious martial arts skills and no qualms.

Ok, except for the hooking in the club toilets, this actually is pretty old-fashioned, especially the ending. And Paris looks beautiful, even the dumps - Thierry Arbogast at the camera. I kept expecting them to pop into color when they got to Oz, but I guess it isn't that kind of old-fashioned movie.

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