Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Angel-A, a Luc Besson fantasy

French filmmaker, Luc Besson, has produced over 91 films, written 37 and directed 15 of them, including The Big Blue, La Femme Nikita, The Professional and The Fifth Element. He's become known for his clever action yarns with atypical memorable characters. Angel-A (2005) takes his fans in a new direction, with a sexy urban fantasy set in Paris, featuring a very unusual pair of actors. Jamel Debouzze plays a scoundrel at the end of his rope, who encounters an angelic woman, portrayed by Rie Rasmussen, and starts off on the road to redemption. I don't think you will ever find another film in which a 5'5", one-handed Moroccan male plays the romantic lead to a 5'10" Dannish female blonde co-star (6'3", with the heels that she keeps on throughout the entire pic). I'd love to see Cruise or Gibson try that (not the heels). Besson keeps the plot simple and innocent. The black & white cinematography is stunning and Paris has never looked better. The original version is in French. Jamel is a comedic genius and Rie, who had to master French in a very short time, compensates for her novice acting skills with her physical presence. The making-of documentary on the North American DVD is actually insightful and fun to watch.

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