Angel Heart [1987]

Set in Harlem and New Orleans in 1955, this supernatural thriller stirred a brief controversy when released in 1987 because some scenes featuring Lisa Bonet (then a popular cast member of The Cosby Show) were considered too sexually explicit to be rated R. The edited material was restored for the unrated video release, and the movie now makes a fitting double bill with Fallen, with its similar plot about a sullen detective (Mickey Rourke) who is hired to find a missing person by a shady client with pointy fingernails named Louis Cyphre (Lucifer, get it?), played with subtle menace by Robert De Niro. Rourke's investigation leads him into an underworld of voodoo and forbidden desires, and as the mystery unfolds director Alan Parker fills every scene with conspicuous style and atmospheric excess, compelling critic Pauline Kael to observe that, "Parker simply doesn't have the gift of making evil seductive, and he edits like a flasher." And yet, this movie does cast a spell of its own (Roger Ebert's review was considerably more charitable), and the performances of Rourke, De Niro, Bonet, and Charlotte Rampling are well suited to the ominous mood. --Jeff Shannon

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