1998; Rated PG-13; 114 Minutes
Nicholas Cage: Seth
Meg Ryan: Maggie
André Braugher: Cassiel
Dennis Franz: Messinger
Colm Feore: Jordan
Robin Bartlett: Anne
Produced by Robert
Cauallo, Alan Glazer, Jeff Levine, Arnon Milchan, Charles
Newirth, Charles Roven, Douglas Segal, Kelley Smith-Wait
and Dawn Steel; Directed by Brad Silberling; Screenwritten
by Dana Stevens
by DAVID KEYES
you see "City Of Angels," at first put the phrase "curiosity
killed the cat" squarely out of your mind. Such a saying
simply does not apply at a movie like this. The main character,
Seth (Nicholas Cage) is a curious angel whose curiosity
to human life provokes the greatest moments of his existence.
Curiosity, for him, is a blessing. Without it, he would
be doomed to an angel background for all eternity.
Of Angels" is a risk that works. It risked destroying the
popular story told in a movie called "Wings Of Desire,"
but manages to update it so that the freshness and passion
still exist within the characters and the story. It is a
triumph of conception, camera movements, and emotional feelings,
all of which exist on a plain only accessible through the
minds of Seth and Maggie (Ryan), two characters who tie
themselves into a knot of surreal human beauty and bold
love. Seth is an angel who watches closely at the humans
he's around, and envies their humanity. When he runs into
Maggie, a surgeon, he instantly finds an attraction in her
that normally an angel-like figure would not posses the
ability to do so. He follows her around, unseen, and then
Maggie turns and sees him, though it's not supposed to happen.
Angels must be unseen by human eyes, but still, Maggie sees.
Each character here as a bind that breaks all boundaries
and borders. They are unique down to the core, and special
right up to the top.
but it's not that simple. Sure, they may have abilities
not normally given to their kind, but such abilities have
their limits. Seth and Maggie grow closer and closer, all
to the point where Seth wants to give up his an angel background
to be with her. But can he do that? After all, he's an angel,
and the human race needs them.
order to find out if his lust for humanity can be reached,
he turns to an interesting character billed as Messinger,
who, according to he, was once an angel himself. It is possible,
as he states, to give up his an angel background for self-humanity,
but he must have good reason, otherwise the answer is obviously
is a simple love story, but still, a big risk. It's not
easy to inspire a movie like this off of a film like "Wings
Of Desire," which, in my opinion, is one of the greatest
films ever made. Normally when these things are done, stories
are reset in the modern days, and the resets often accompany
problems and glitches that severely deteriorate the possibility
for a decent remake. Think for an instant of "William Shakespeare's
Romeo + Juliet." Updating Shakespeare's immortal classic
may have been a good idea, but it certainly didn't seem
like it after seeing the final product. Not only did it
remove the flavor from the original play, but also brought
in some of the most annoying aspects of modern-day conversions,
like over-obsessive love stories, poor dialogue, and dimwitted
thing "City Of Angels" manages to do is keep everything
at a normal, watchable level, and though I thought "Wings
Of Desire" is a movie ten times better, this film works
nearly on every level, making for a memorable experience,
and one of the best love stories currently around.
seems like these romance movies suffer the most in modern-day
conversions. "City Of Angels" risked placing itself among
the most horrible movies of our time, but managed in the
end to provoke the nostalgia and beauty of the old romance
pictures. It is one of the greatest films of 1998, and a
picture that asks one important question--unless we take
risks, how would we get great movies?
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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