I watched this movie, because I was intrigued by what I’d read about it. A private detective, Harry Angel, is hired by a mystery man, Louis Cyphre, to find a missing person who owes him a debt.
I feel obliged to warn right up front that this review contains major spoilers. So, if you really want to see this thing, don’t read this.
Mickey Rourke plays the P.I. with just the right mix of attitude between “what the fuck am I doing?” and “who gives a damn?” And, frankly, it’s pretty obvious from the first that Robert DeNiro as Louis Cyphre (as in Lucifer – Louis Cypher, get it?) is actually Old Scratch himself. Obvious from the fact that the person he seeks was a big-time band singer. So … how did he get so big and famous? I leave it to your imagination to figure out the kind of debt he incurred with the Devil in order to succeed.
Then, there’s the matter of DeNiro’s manicured fingernails. Long, pointy, and white, like a well-groomed Howard Hughes. He and Rourke meet in some crazy church, where blood is being washed from the walls of a room.
Now … you’d think this Angel character (Angel, get it?) would think twice about the assignment. He does, but decides there’s nothing too weird going on. Nothing that money can’t make more manageable.
So, Angel undertakes a huge hunt for this singer, who seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. Then, he meets people who suggest he went south to New Orleans with some wacky voodoo witch.
The movie continues to be fitfully interesting, mainly because Rourke plays the character for laughs and the story has cool plot twists. But when he arrives in New Orleans, all the laughs and interesting plot twists get overshadowed by that hoo-doo that the movie do so well.
The denouement would be quite the surprise, if the extended setup hadn’t made it so damned predictable. The movie ends with Angel’s symbolic descent into you-know-where on an elevator that thuds to a stop – much like the movie.
I rate this one so-so.