Release Date: May 25, 2007
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Tuesday, May 22, 2007
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Looks like the cover of a Blondie album

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Position Staff In Brief
50/214 Max Braden Predictable but enjoyable, uncommonly shot in all black and white.

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French director Luc Besson’s North American career has been scattershot. His foreign language titles, La Femme Nikita and The Professional aka The Cleaner, are considered classics. The former title was re-made as an English language movie called Point of No Return, while the latter film introduced the world to Natalie Portman. His later outings, The Fifth Element and The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, were huge financial disappointments, particularly relative to budget. Since then, Besson has returned to his native France, divorced the actress he regrets casting as Joan of Arc, Milla Jovovich, and directed what he claims to be the final two films of his career, Arthur and the Invisibles and Angel-A. Besson has always said that after his tenth film, he is done with the creation process, meaning that the latter title is (theoretically) his final North American release. Then again, Michael Jordan famously retired from basketball before making a triumphant return. Twice.

Angel-A is an unusual choice of projects for Besson. The film follows the life Andre (Jemel Debbouze)...or at least the end of it. Tired of being indebted to everyone he knows as well as a few people he has never met, Andre attempts to use a green card he won in order to leave France. He is denied admission into America, completing his belief that his life is unwelcome by the cosmos. Andre decides right then and there to jump into the Seine, figuring suicide is his best career option. Before he can accomplish this, a moment straight out of It’s a Wonderful Life occurs. A ridiculously tall woman (Rie Rasmussen, best known to North American audiences for seducing Rebecca Romijin in Femme Fatale) jumps into the water, forcing Andre to turn in the blink of an eye from coward to hero. After saving his new friend, Andre begins to realize that the giantess is harboring secrets of her own. She has chosen him for a reason, and their fates are now enjoined.

Besson’s latest offering has not been well received in his homeland, creating questions about how well the foreign language film will be accepted by North American audiences. The vivid imagery of the trailer might be enough to captivate some, though. Rasmussen is roughly a foot and a half taller than Debbouze, creating a distinct visual that is in stark contrast to what audiences have come to expect in a male/female dynamic. The diminutive man appears to be literally over his head with his female counterpart, and that memory might linger in the heads of frequent art-house movie-goers. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Angel-A
Main Cast Jamel Debbouze, Rie Rasmussen, Olivier Claverie
Supporting Cast Gilbert Melki, Kate Nauta, Serge Riaboukine
Director Luc Besson
Screenwriter Luc Besson
Distributor Sony Pictures Classics
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Screen Count 7
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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