Enkomputiligis Don HARLOW

Angel Eyes

by Gerald di Pego

reviewed by Don Harlow

Back in March, 1987, I was on my way to work in Mountain View one sunny morning when, as I was driving south along the old Cypress Structure on route 880 at 50 MPH, my little Renault was picked up from the left rear by a truck doing maybe 51 or 52, wrapped around his front end, and left sitting motionless pointing backwards in the southbound fast lane.

I walked away from it -- somewhat unsteadily, and only after clambering out through the passenger-side door; the driver-side door was so badly collapsed that it never opened again -- and knew that I had been very, very lucky. The same couldn't, I think, be said for the person lying in the front seat of the car that had had a head-on with a truck in the opening credit scenes of Angel Eyes; all he or she could see was a policewoman, serious-faced, shouting for the medics and saying, "Hang in there ... stay with me ... I'm here ..." And then, of course, there was that white light that faded everything out, even the credits.

A year later we focus on two characters. There is Sharon Pogue (Jennifer Lopez), officer in the Chicago police department, wrestling with familial demons that she doesn't know how to defeat (a father who pretends she doesn't exist because she once had to arrest him for beating her mother, the delectable Sonia Braga; a brother who may be going the same way). And there is an unshaven drifter who calls himself Catch (Jim Caviezel of Frequency), who seems to wander the streets in a half-daze, occasionally doing good deeds for people when he sees something out of place. Catch sees Pogue through a bar-and-grill window, shooting bull with some other cops, and is unaccountably drawn to her; over the next couple of days he keeps the occasional eye on her, and when two hit-men attempt to blow her and her colleagues away, and she chases one of the perps into a corner and he puts one into the kevlar over her bosom and prepares to put a second one right between her eyes, Catch is there to tackle him for her.

The movie covers the evolving relationship between the lonely Pogue and the perhaps not classically lonely but certainly solitary Catch, for whom Pogue would appear to be a chance to start life from scratch (as he puts it) at around age 30. Pogue's problem is, of course, that of the good cop, that she really has to make everything fit properly, and when she finally gets a handle on Catch's identity and tracks it down, she has to try to use the knowledge to make Catch face up to his demons and defeat them -- something that she has never been able to do for her own, mentioned above.

I have minor complaints about the film. In particular, the cute but abrasive young mother in the apartment down the hall from Catch's, and particularly her young son who pops out into the hallway at critical moments to give Catch a silent stare, are really red herrings; I expected something to happen with them that would contribute to the story, but what ultimately happens is so minor that it might as well have been omitted, along with them. When you see them in the film, remember that basically they are just window dressing and expect nothing spectacular.

On the other hand, though I wish I could pan this film, I really can't. As I've said before, I'm a sucker for a tear-jerking love story with a happy ending, and I confess that I had to wipe my face before going out into the early evening light so that nobody would see that particular evidence of non-masculine weakness. And I can empathize with Pogue's revelation that "it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be ..." I enjoyed it, though I probably shouldn't say so publicly ...

(Note did I read somewhere recently that Jennifer Lopez was voted the "World's Sexiest Woman" for a second year running? I've got to confess that I can't see it. But I will say that she does sort of grow on you ...)

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