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VINE VOICEon March 11, 2004
Here is a surprisingly good movie that has a poignancy I didn't expect. It revolves around the fallout of a horrible traffic accident and the long-term effects it has on two lives. One is the police officer (Jennifer Lopez) at the scene and the other is one of the many victims (James Caviezel). The accident causes their lives to be bound in a way that neither of them could have imagined.
JLO plays a tough cop who is afraid of getting emotionally attached to people whom she encounters in her austere profession. Caviezel is a nice-guy extraordinnaire who is always looking to give people a hand. In their own way, both characters are out to help people, albeit via different approaches.
The film does an excellent job of engaging an important but often ignored facet of today's society: domestic battery. It happens with egregious frequency these days, yet it continues to be a subject that is "swept under the rug." This DVD is bold in its presentation of what is a very touchy theme.
Although JLO is usually best known for her appearance, in this film she demonstrates some credible acting talent. That was a bit surprising for me as I've only seen a few JLO movies to date. But, surprising in a positive way!
If you like love stories / chick flicks, this one is highly recommended. If you want a love story with a few twists, this one is even better. Most of all if you want a movie that deals with current & relevant themes that effect today's society, this one is a can't miss.
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on May 16, 2001
In the lifetime of every individual, there are defining moments which, when added together, equal the sum total of all the good times and bad that person has ever known. And from that whole list, there is probably one that stands out-- that one “special” moment, or the most significant-- one that was so good you’d like to relive it over and over again, or so bad that you’d like to erase it from your memory forever. In “Angel Eyes,” starring Jennifer Lopez and James Caviezel, director Luis Mandoki takes a look at the effects of such a moment in the life of Chicago Police Officer Sharon Pogue (Lopez), and again with a man who calls himself “Catch” (Caviezel); unrelated moments from their past, that are destined to play an even more significant role in their future, when circumstances bring them together on the streets of Chicago. ...
The mystery surrounding Catch is what drives this film, and Mandoki does an excellent job of presenting it. He creates an atmosphere that cloaks Catch in shadows, yet keeps him elusive, rather than sinister. Catch seems to float through life, calm and strangely prepossessing, yet detached and ambiguous. ...
As Sharon, Jennifer Lopez gives arguably her best performance since 1998’s “Out Of Sight,” in which she also played a cop. After her turn in “The Cell,” which wasn’t bad, and the forgettable fluff of “The Wedding Planner,” it’s good to see her in a challenging role, something she can really sink her teeth into. Which she does, and beautifully. It’s tough for an actress to make a character like this believable (Tyne Daly came close in “The Enforcer,” Jamie Lee Curtis was a disaster in “Blue Steel”), but Lopez pulls it off and proves that there’s more to her than just a pretty face. She makes Sharon a very real person, entirely three dimensional, emotionally complex and a woman who seems very capable of doing what she does for a living. She’s beautiful and tough, but sensitive as well, and most importantly, Lopez makes it convincing.
As Catch, Caviezel gives a memorable performance that really captures the essence of who this guy is. And his success with this character lies in the fact that he plays him straight, making him exactly who he is supposed to be rather than trying to shade him with some kind of “dark side” to enhance the mystery ensconcing him. He makes Catch a person you can readily embrace, who though perceived by others as enigmatic, is really only a man coping with a terrible secret and living his life as best he can. Catch is a unique character, in that he is cryptic and accessible at the same time; and Caviezel captures his spirit with astounding acuity and nuance. It’s an honest portrayal, devoid of any pretentiousness or falseness-- quite simply an excellent piece of acting.
The supporting cast includes Sonia Braga, Terrence Dashon Howard, Daniel Magder, Jeremy Sisto, J.J. Evans, Alfonso Arau, Victor Argo, Monet Mazur and Shirley Knight. Extremely well developed and delivered, “Angel Eyes” is a story of loss and love, and redemption; but more than that, it’s about “Time”-- how much we’re given and how we use what we have. Call it a reflection on mortality; it’s a film that will make you stop, think and consider-- about the way things are, and perhaps how they could be-- if you’d only take the time to make one of those “special” moments that last forever.
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on January 20, 2002
"Angel Eyes" is an excellent character study that is not likely to have much mass appeal. It requires a very patient viewer due to its deliberate pacing and subtle presentation. The great majority of viewers want to be actively entertained when they go to the movies and this is not that sort of film. Viewing this film is more like trying to navigate a ship through a fog. You have to stay alert and try to figure things out as you go.
The story by Gerald De Pego is well written, presenting two very flawed characters that spend the entire story struggling to overcome a considerable amount of emotional baggage. I give director Luis Mandoki extremely high marks for his presentation. Mandoki takes his time and unfolds the story gradually with great nuance. He takes great care to make sure to avoid being obvious. Despite the fact that it is readily apparent that Catch (James Caviezel) is the same man that Sharon (Jennifer Lopez) helped in the car wreck in the opening scene (no spoiler here, they almost spoon feed this to you on the movie jacket) everything else needs to be discovered.
Mandoki artfully introduces characters in a consistently nebulous way. When we meet a new character we are not exactly sure during the beginning of the scene to whom we are being introduced and why he or she is important. It is as if we are overhearing a conversation between two people and we are trying to figure out how they know one another. The viewer is forced to think (a risky concept with today's fast-food-cinema mentality). Mandoki constantly supplies us with vague information, making us ask ourselves, "Okay, how does this fit in." It makes the film much more intriguing.
My only criticism of Mandoki is that he tries to do too much with Sharon's family relationships. He makes it a full blown subplot that bogs down an already convoluted tale, taking us away from the real story which is about Catch and Sharon. The entire party scene after the renewal of vows is completely superfluous. The scenes of Sharon and her partner having soul searching conversations should also have been cut. Another annoying detail is that Sharon and Catch are constantly driving around wearing no seat belts, which seems to me to be terribly incongruous given that one is a cop and the other a serious auto accident victim.
The acting is terrific. This is the best performance I have seen to date by Jennifer Lopez. This part tests her talent with its breadth and she delivers a full ranging performance. Sharon is an extremely complex character filled with self doubt, anger and misplaced aggression. Lopez plays her flawlessly with a delicate combination of toughness and emotional vulnerability, which is a difficult balance to achieve. Her love scenes are tender and sincere, and her banter with fellow cops is smart and feisty.
I was impressed by James Caviezel's performance in "Frequency", but I enjoyed this role even better. Catch is an enigmatic character drifting through a period of anomie. There is a duality to him, defeated and despondent, yet with a hint of seemingly inconsistent strength that emerges occasionally from his listlessness. Caviezel's performance appears uneven as we watch it, yet it is perfectly presented and fits the character completely once we learn the whole story about him. It is a marvelous interpretation of a complicated and puzzling individual.
This film is a wonderful character study that is likely to be grossly unappreciated for its intricacy and strong direction. The character development is masterfully done and the acting is superlative. I rated it an 8/10. It is an intelligent and sensitive story for the refined viewer.
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on October 4, 2001
Jennifer Lopez is the real thing, one of those rare actresses who can win our instinctive sympathy. She demonstrates that in "Angel Eyes," playing a tough cop who does everything she can to wall out the world, and yet always seems worthy of trust and care. The film's story involves the cop's skittish, arm's-length relationship with a man named Catch (Jim Caviezel), whose walls are higher than her own.
Who is this Catch, anyway? He walks the streets in a long overcoat, head down, lonely, depressed, looking like one of the angels in "Wings of Desire." Once a week be brings groceries to a shut-in named Elanora (Shirley Knight). The first time he sees Sharon, the Lopez character, he stops and stares at her through a restaurant window--not with lust or curiosity, but as if he's trying to repair some lost connection.
Lopez constructs Sharon, not out of spare parts from old cop movies, but in specific terms. She is a good cop from a technical point of view, firm, confident, brave. She wants to do well and punish evil, and only gradually do we learn that her orientation toward this career may have been formed early, when she called the cops on her abusive father (Victor Argo) as he beat up her mother (Sonia Braga). Her father has disowned her for that, her brother is still mad about it, and even her mother defends the man. He never did it again, after all, she argues, to which Sharon replies that perhaps he would have, if she hadn't acted. Fighting other lawbreakers may be her way of proving she was right in the first place.
The movie, directed by Luis Mandoki, has intriguing opening scenes. Is this a thriller? A supernatural movie? Who do the angel eyes belong to? An angel? Or does Catch only come on like a guardian angel while reserving secrets of his own? We are still asking these questions during a stretch of the film where Sharon is staring at a gun in her face, and her life is saved by . . . Catch.
They talk. It is like a verbal chess game. Catch doesn't simply answer questions, he parries them; his responses redefine the conversation, as an unexpected move changes the logic on the board. She invites him home. He pokes through drawers. She likes him. She begins to kiss him. He doesn't want to be kissed. They settle into a cat-and-mouse rhythm in which one and then the other flees, and one and then the other pursues. She follows him to his apartment. It is empty except for a futon. "This is it," he says. "I live here. I walk around town. That's it, except for how I feel about you."
But how does he feel about her? "Angel Eyes" is a complex, evasive romance involving two people who both want to be inaccessible. It's intriguing to see their dance of attraction and retreat. Meanwhile, secrets about both their family situations emerge; credit the screenwriter, Gerald DiPego, for not resolving the standoff with the father with an easy payoff.
There are lots of movies about cops because their lives lend themselves to excitement in a movie plot. They get involved with bad guys. They see action. They spend a lot of time drinking coffee in diners, because a booth in a diner provides an ideal rationale for a face-to-face two-shot that doesn't look awkward or violate body language. For these and other reasons "Angel Eyes" is a cop movie, but its real story doesn't involve the police, it involves damaged lives and the possibility that love can heal.
Jim Caviezel, who has been in movies for 10 years, emerged in "The Thin Red Line" (1998) and then played Dennis Quaid's son--the one who contacts his father with a radio signal that travels back in time--in "Frequency." Here he has an elusive, dreamy quality, using passivity as a mask for sharp, deep emotions. Since he apparently has no desire to meet anyone, why is he so attracted to Sharon? The answer has been waiting for us since the opening scene.
Lopez has a hard assignment here, remaining plausible in action scenes and touchy, slippery dialogue scenes. She and Caviezel play tricky notes, and so do the other actors, especially Victor Argo as a stubborn, hard man and Sonia Braga as his conflicted wife. The screenplay doesn't let them off the hook. And notice what simplicity and conviction the veteran Shirley Knight brings to her role, never straining for an effect, never punching up false emotions, embodying acceptance. This is a surprisingly effective film.
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on May 20, 2001
The folks in the marketing department at Warner Bros. should be scolded. They are trying to sell "Angel Eyes" as a crime thriller, with some ads almost making it look like an emotional "Fatal Attraction" type clone. They could not be farther from the truth. "Angel Eyes" is a gripping, honest, very original crime drama about the theory of predestination, and the effects of true love.
Jennifer Lopez is flawless as Chicago Police Officer Sharon Pogue. In the first portion of the film, we see her in action. We see that she is a good person at her core. She believes in her job, and she executes her duties to the best of her ability. She is honest, yet tough. Just, yet vulnerable. Then comes a day when she becomes involved in a violent brawl and is rescued from a bloody execution by a mysterious stranger (Jim Caviezel). From that moment on, their lives would never be the same. As the two strangers meet, and eventually fall in love, dark secrets from their respective pasts emerge, and they are both forced to confront the pain that has left them unable to receive love for so long.
"Angel Eyes" is potent and convincing. Part crime thriller in the first half, to flat out drama in the second, it never once loses its grip on the audience. Credit screenwriter Gerald Dipego and director Luis Mandoki for keeping the atmosphere dark and brooding when need be, and light and hopeful when called for.
Jennifer Lopez gives what I think to be the best performance of her career, although her turn as Federal Agent Karen Sisco in "Out of Sight" comes a close second. She is a true entertainer, whose appeal goes clear across the board. She is flat out mesmirizing in this film. Jim Caviezel proves yet again that he is a talent that is here to stay. In the last year, he's played similar characters in "Frequency", "Pay it Forward," and now "Angel Eyes," but in each film, he gives his character subtle details that make them a far cry from the one before. He is a true actor.
Some people are being put off by this film, and I'd once again have to blame the marketing department. Why they think that people would only respond to the trailers of a crime thriller instead of the trailers of an intelligent, adult drama baffles me. If it's good, it will be seen...and "Angel Eyes" is good, it is very good.
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on May 18, 2001
There's more than just a mystery involved in the plot of "Angel Eyes," a movie which may or may not deserve the title "thriller." The reason for this depends on whether or not you've been subjected to the theatrical trailer, which is a big mislead, and if you haven't seen it, then don't. The way in which the movie takes a different path is a bit disappointing, but everything else falls into place nicely. The acting from the two leads is astounding, while the elements of the plot deal with human issues and obstacles, making the film easy to relate to.
The story begins at the scene of an auto accident, where police officer Sharon Pogue is busy attempting to keep an unseen victim alive and focused on her. Moving ahead by a year, we are given a more human side of her life: a conversation with her brother begins a storyline of family discord between Sharon and her father, while her intervention with her fellow officers and criminals casts her in a strong light. This is the point at which Catch comes onto the scene, keeping a watch over her and saving her life after a drive-by shooting which ends in an on-foot pursuit.
From this point on, the two get to know one another on a more personal level, but Sharon finds that the new man in her life is not all that he seems. His past is touchy subject for conversation, while his apartment remains devoid of furniture, and he walks wherever he goes. Sharon wants to know more, and in her pursuit of the details, she finds herself falling more in love with Catch, who is beginning to remember things from a past that may have more to do with Sharon than either of them think.
This is a movie that has its ups and downs, and while the ups have the majority, the downs are not easily ignored. For instance, the promotional material portrays mystery-man Catch as a possible apparition who has walked into her life. Even the first section of the movie itself portrays him as a well-intentioned man, in a scene in which he opens a pedestrian's car door to merely turn off his lights, nothing more. His interactions with others give him a sort of angelic presence, so it comes as a bit of a letdown when the second half takes a totally different approach. Personally, I liked the way the trailers made the movie look. The idea that Catch is an angel who falls in love with a human is intriguing, and while it's certainly not new, to me, it has much more appeal than what the story leaves us with.
The story also gives away its secrets too quickly, but for good reasons. Catch begins having flashbacks early into the movie, which will give away the ties he has to Sharon as well as the secrets of his past. But the filmmakers have a certain purpose for that: the overall story is less about the mysteries of Catch's life and more about the personal problems in both he and Sharon's lives, and so some of the secrets are revealed in order to allow the main viewpoint to center on these obstacles.
What's good about the movie is the delicate relationship between Catch and Sharon. Sharon has problems with her family, which screenwriter Gerald Dipego keeps well hidden until later points in the film. While her own problems create a life of tension, her need to help Catch discover the secrets of his past and hold onto him also weigh heavily on her mind. Their problems and hardships allow them to act as consolation for each other, not unlike that of a guardian angel watching over an earthly soul.
The movie also allows us to get to know the characters, something I greatly admire in a film. From the first introductions, we know who the characters are, their intentions in relation to one another, and how different situations and occurances affect them. Director Luis Mandoki uses a careful pace in order to establish these traits, while also heightening the suspense at times to keep everything in place.
The best part about this movie are the performances of the two leads, who are required to carry a majority of the film on their shoulders. Jennifer Lopez is cast as Sharon, and through her acting, she portrays Sharon as strong and determined, as the tough cop with a lighter side. Lopez does some of her best work here, topping her work in "The Cell;" it is evident through her work here that she is easily able to get into her character. Jim Caviezel is Catch, and his looks project a feeling of innocence and goodness (his blue eyes, piercing and effective, always take on the look that he is on the verge of shedding tears). His mental breakdown proves his worth as an actor, and the chemistry between he and Lopez electrifies the screen.
"Angel Eyes" is not without its flaws, and the way it all ends seems a bit underachieved. But the way in which everything comes together in the end leaves no loose strings, and that, accompanied with the powerhouse performances by Caviezel and Lopez make this movie well worth watching.
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on October 29, 2001
WOW! I haven't enjoyed a movie so much since 'The Contender', or maybe 'Out of Sight'.
This movie is not at all what I expected, or even what the movie blurb leads you to believe. It's one of those great movies that has a plot you can't predict. You don't know how this movie is going to end and you don't know where it's going.
But it's just enjoyable and intriguing to see the two lead characters reveal themselves and develop. A really mature, well-written script, both funny, sassy, courageous, and poignant. I don't know where they got the hokey title; they must have grabbed it out of a hat. But don't be fooled, the packaging has mismarketed an unusually good story. It's not a date movie; the movie deals with deep emotional issues, but thankfully in an uncliched way. Events play out fairly honestly. 'Angel Eyes' neither cheats its audience nor preaches.

And Guess what? Jennifer Lopez really can act, and not just as herself. I was coerced into seeing 'The Wedding Planner' right before this one and the difference in both the script and her acting is HUGE. Jennifer Lopez has earned her acting chops (and thankfully she's better in this field than in the musical one).
Great directing, great casting, great acting. Five out of five for 'Angel Eyes'.
If you like this movie you may want to see 'Deja Vu' or maybe 'The Sixth Sense', which is similar to this movie in tone. Don't worry, I haven't given the plot away. ; )
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on May 29, 2001
I saw this movie by chance-and stayed and watched it again. I don't think many movies of this sort get made as this would probably not apeal to the majority. Very real people with very thought provoking circumstances. One of the most meaningful films i've seen. Angel Eyes is about as far from "the usual Hollywood crap" as it gets. Thank you for the privlege of seeing it.
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on May 19, 2001
Frankly, I didn't think I was going to enjoy this movie. The reviewer in the local paper had 'ruined' it (in my opinion) by giving away most of the story. Worse, the bare bones of the described story seemed superficially familiar.
Then, I arrived at the theatre and the movie started. And I changed my mind. The strength of this movie is in the characterization, not in the plot.
Jennifer Lopez (as the hard-nosed cop, Sharon) and James Caviezel (as the mysterious man who calls himself "Catch") are both superb. Both portray people who are no longer whole, thanks to their tormenting memories.
We watch them struggle to deal with those memories, even as they grope to make contact with each other. Their mutual need for emotional contact is critical to their healing, yet both have avoided making such contact for a long time. And, for each, the reason they've avoided reaching out to others is due to a confused sense of guilt and responsibility.
This movie was no sweet Hollywood love story, nor was it some kind of a rip-off of "Ghost" or "The Sixth Sense", as the movie trailers seem to hint. If "Angel Eyes' bears a resemblance to any recent movie, I would liken it to "As Good As It Gets". Here again, we have the painfully accurate portrayal of human relationships, of love in the real world, and the angst and pain that family members can inflict or each other and on themselves.
One last, slightly irreverant note. This may not be much of a 'feel-good' movie, but the memory of the warmth of James Caviezel's smile still makes me feel good.
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on May 28, 2001
I was not expecting as much from the film as it delivered. As a Jennifer Lopez fan I mainly went to see her in a drama, since I truly enjoyed her in the comedy "The Wedding Planner". Wow from the very beginning of the movie all the way to the end this movie takes you up and down through every aspect of human emotion. I truly think this is some of the best acting I have seen from Jennifer Lopez. Jim Caviezel, The lead actor is making a great start of his career too first in "Frequency" now this movie. Over all this is definitely a movie I would recommend and I will also be anxiously awaiting its release on DVD from Amazon. It is quite refreshing to see a movie that is tastefully done but not "Hollywood-ized" with un-needed graphic violence and nudity. A great summer movie and one I am glad I saw on the big screen.
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