"Redeeming the Past"
What You Need To Know:
Rated R for lots of foul language, some violence and a scene of premarital sexual sensuality, ANGEL EYES nevertheless builds to a redemptive, purifying emotional climax with positive family values. Although the pain and isolation caused by her family relationships are not totally healed, Sharon takes a positive step of reconciliation with her family. Also, her parents renew their vows during a brief, Christian ceremony, and Catch finally faces up to the pain he’s been trying to escape, a pain which also has something to do with his own family
(C, Pa, LLL, VV, S, N, A, D, M) Mild Christian worldview about redeeming past pain & trauma spoiled by some brief pagan elements of foul language & a scene of sexual immorality; 63 mostly strong obscenities, 3 strong profanities & 3 mild profanities; some action violence involving police & criminals including major gunfight, chase scene, & arrests, plus implied auto wreck with flashback of truck coming toward car in apparent head-on collision & issues concerning wife beating, including scene where police find wife with bruise on her cheek; implied fornication & nude couple embraces while sitting in waterhole in a park (but “naughty bits” not in view); upper male nudity, woman in underwear & implied full nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, implied wife beating, policewoman has problems controlling her anger & father refuses to reconcile with daughter.
ANGEL EYES is a very unique and compelling drama about two lonely people who find emotional healing for past trauma in each other’s arms. At first, the movie makes viewers think it’s going to be some kind of mystery thriller. Then, it turns that concept on its head to develop into a powerful family drama about dealing with loss and hurt.
Jennifer Lopez stars in ANGEL EYES as Chicago Police Officer Sharon Pogue. In the movie’s opening scenes, she ministers to a faceless victim of a automobile fatality resulting from a truck accident. One year later, a stranger who calls himself “Catch,” played by Jim Caviezel from THE THIN RED LINE, seems to follow Sharon as she sits with her police buddies in a coffee shop. An ambush of Sharon and the other policemen leads to a chase where Catch shows up just in time to save Sharon’s life.
Sharon becomes intrigued by this delivering angel. She invites him to have a drink with her, and she eventually develops a romance with this mysterious, but kindly, stranger. A haunted soul who lives in an empty apartment, Catch nevertheless spends his days dispensing little gifts of goodwill to anyone in need. For instance, if it starts to rain and he notices a car window open, Catch will roll it up. Twice a week, he delivers groceries to a disabled woman in a wheelchair. Despite these acts of goodwill, Catch seems to derive no pleasure from them, even though he does have a nice smile which attracts Sharon. A committed police officer, Sharon tries to find out more about Catch’s background, but he refuses to open up to her.
Sharon has her own personal demons, however. She has had a tumultuous relationship with her brother and especially her father. Consequently, she has a boiling anger welling up inside her which sometimes cannot be controlled. When her anger gets the better of her as she’s dealing with the criminals she encounters, it causes conflict between her and her partner, played wonderfully by Terrence Howard, who also gave an excellent performance in THE BEST MAN. The movie slowly reveals the facts about Sharon and Catch’s past. They discover the truth about each other and are forced to deal with the pain keeping them from leading a well-adjusted, contented life.
Rated R for lots of foul language, some violence and a scene of premarital sexual sensuality, ANGEL EYES nevertheless builds to a redemptive, purifying emotional climax with positive family values. Although the pain and isolation caused by her family relationships are not totally healed, Sharon takes a positive step of reconciliation with her family. Also, her parents renew their vows in a brief, Christian ceremony, and Catch finally faces up to the pain from which he has been running away, a pain which also has something to do with his own family. Thus, the ending to ANGEL EYES is full of wonderful, well-written scenes, but these can’t make up for the unacceptable parts of the movie, especially the prevalent use of the “f” word and the use of three strong profanities.
Jennifer Lopez does an excellent job as Officer Pogue. As she proved in the thriller OUT OF SIGHT, she can be both tender and tough. She also reacts naturally with the other actors and actresses with whom she performs. Jim Caviezel turns in a fine performance as the mysterious, friendly Catch. His smile is infectious. It also helps viewers identify with the unknown pain that his character seems to be undergoing.
Director Luis Mandoki (MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE) finally delivers on the promise he showed in the Mexican movie, GABY – A TRUE STORY. He handles the actors well and delivers the emotional payoffs that the script requires, without turning the movie into an unrealistic sentimental exercise. Of course, the quality of the script by Gerald DiPego (PHENOMENON) helps immensely. Although the story is a bit contrived in spots, the dialogue is well-written and the characters are well-defined. Furthermore, the revelations about Sharon and Catch are satisfying when played out in the movie’s emotional climax. They not only make sense; they also don’t violate the audience’s intelligence.
Despite its flaws, ANGEL EYES is one of the best movies of the year from Hollywood’s major studios. If the studio removed the gratuitous foul language and the movie’s brief sex scene, this would be a much more acceptable movie for mature audiences.