Bizarre Noir #6: Fallen.

Welcome to the sixth of seven posts that will review bizarre noir movies! I hope you enjoy the series. For more information or previous entries, check the posts below this one.


Year of Origin: 1998.

Director: Gregory Hoblit.

Why it's bizarre: It's a supernatural/horror/thriller.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about this one, though it’s a great one, nonetheless. Detective John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) has finally caught sadistic murderer, Edgar Reese (Elias Koteas). And it’s finally time for his death sentence. But during the whole death sentence thing, Mr. Reese speaks in funny languages and does some odd things. But Detective Hobbes simply shrugs it off. That is, until after Edgar is put to death, when people start being killed in the exact same way that Edgar Reese killed. At first, Hobbes and his partner, Detective Jonesy (John Goodman), think it’s a copycat killer. But after following some clues that lead to speaking with one Gretta Milano (Embeth Davidtz), Hobbes starts believing that it is, in fact, a demon named Azazel that can pass from person to person via touch. And now Azazel is seemingly framing up Hobbes as a murderous and crooked cop, much to the chagrin of police lieutenant Stanton (Donald Sutherland).

There’s a couple other good-name actors in the movie, such as James Gandolfini and Robert Joy, and the acting all around the board is really good. Elias Koteas does his role at the beginning subtly, yet maniacally. Denzel is good as always, and, hey, it’s John Goodman. And while James Gandolfini’s character is, for all intents and purposes, pointless, it’s still done pretty well. The only real shaky ground when it comes to acting is Hobbes’ nephew, Sam, but it’s a child actor, and they aren’t all Abigail Breslin's or Haley Joel Osment’s (whatever happened to him, anyway? He did some video game voice-overs…).

The story isn’t as sci-fi channel cheesy as it sounds. It’s done very well, and with a two hour time-frame, the movie is quite capable of pulling it off nicely. The scenes that involve chasing through large crowds with Azazel going from body to body are really cool. And the song (‘time is on my side’) that he sings and/or whistles throughout the movie is pretty creepy.

The cinematography is excellent, much like any good noir film. And speaking of noir things, there is voice-over narration by Denzel, done in a very Denzel kind of way. And along the same lines, there’s a nice twist ending that’s pretty awesome. Oh, and the music is classic cop/noir jazz saxophone, so it fits nicely with the rest of the feel of the film.

There’s not much else to say about this movie. If you like noir or movies that deal with the supernatural, you should definitely check this one out. It has a great cast and a really good story that culminates into a really good climax and awesome twist.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

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