Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

City of Angels (1998)

Directed by Brad Silberling

Starring Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Andre Braugher, Dennis Franz

Author

Hollywoodized, but not ruined, version of Wings of Desire. There IS some magic there. The dialogue seems awkwardly poetic at times, as if it was translated from the original German word for word, but all in all it’s a pretty solid movie.

I question some of the story. I don’t understand the bit when he’s half-human. He hasn’t made the plunge, but he still enjoys human existence. I don’t remember how the original went, but I think it would have been a lot more powerful if it is only after he “takes the plunge” that Meg sees him for the first time. Perhaps the biggest flaw, there never seems to be a point where she finally takes a plunge of her own and accept the absurd fact that he’s an angel. She just kind of gradually accepts it, whereas I think that should have been a major turning point in the story. It’s like that scene was missing or cut out for some reason. That sex scene was a bit gross.

Cage is good, Ryan is cute. A good mix. Cage proved to me that he can do good comedy, and now he proved that he can really act. I loved that sudden glare he gave to people when they act weird or say something unexpected. But why was his name Seth? Isn’t that a god of evil or something? Ryan was cute. She’s getting old, but I think she’ll continue to play the same types of roles till she’s gray and wrinkled. But in the film, there’s no way that a smart, attractive character like Meg, who has probably been fending off weirdos since she was 12 years old, would hold out for a guy who acted as weird and obsessive towards her as Cage did.

Nicely shot, and some interesting expressionistic angles (an homage?) which work well visually and intellectually. Loved the metaphorical shots, like the candle going out when she died.

Might have been more powerful if it had a unified score (especially with a distinctive instrument) of some kind. This would have been the perfect kind of movie to make a great score for. For once, U2 gets to appear as background radio music instead of over the end credits.

Not sure I get the title. It’s not particularly about Los Angeles or any other city, it’s about a global condition and a universal belief. Something which captured this grandness might have been more appropriate.

Pet peeve: when you’re watching the movie and the credits start rolling before you’re given a punctuating ending.

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