Company: Twilight Time
Starring: Stephen Rea, Veronica Quilligan, Peter Caffrey, Alan Devlin, Donal McCann, Ray McAnally
My Review and Thoughts:
Twilight Time stumped me with this one. I had never seen this film, honestly never heard of it, which is shocking considering it stars one of my favorite actors, Stephen Rea, and also is directed by one of my favorite directors. Written and directed by Neil Jordan.
What better way to finally see this film then on a top quality product that Twilight Time supplies. They gave this forgotten piece of cinema a new worthy outlet in picture and sound quality.
This is, Jordan’s first directorial debut. Rea and Jordan have worked together from the start. Rea has acted in Neil Jordan’s much underrated fantasy Horror, 1984’s The Company of Wolves. The Crying Game (1992) which is the true defining film of Jordan’s career. The Crying Game, which is a true superb piece of cinematic mastery should be seen by any film lover. Rea has worked with Jordan on one of my favorite vampire films of all time, Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. Jordan used Rea in Michael Collins, The Butcher Boys, IN Dreams, The End of the Affair, and Breakfast on Pluto, Ondine, so you can see the partnership both have together in making films.
Angel is a 1982 filmed Irish drama, mixed with music, and the concept of revenge. Your main character named Danny played by Stephen is a saxophonist. Danny spends time with his band as they travel to gigs. Danny one day witnesses the band manager, murdered by a gang, and also an innocent bystander witness who is deaf and mute. Danny takes it upon himself to enact, Justice or revenge for these killings. The process leads Danny into a drama induced reality as his friendships, and relationship with the bands leader, sores. Danny steps over into the world of crime, to solve, and fix what he sees, as needing fixed.
Jordan always has away with adding a statement, or a somewhat reality to his films. Angel depicts life in Northern Ireland. Moments of tension, and crime stricken situations with the thugs, or those gangsters who make Danny’s life unravel.
There is a wonderful cast alongside Stephen Rea. The amazing and very talented Veronica Quilligan in the part of Annie. The amazing Alan Devlin, who sadly has passed away at the young age of 63, he was a great Irish actor. Also starring Peter Caffrey another wonderful performer that also has passed away at the young age of 58 years. I will always remember Caffrey in the part of Padraig O’Kelly in the TV show Ballykissangel. Also starring the phenomenal Irish actor and director Ian McElhinney. Still acting strong and great as always today, most recently in the TV Series, The Fall. Also starring another fantastic Irish actor, Donal McCann, who also has passed away at the young age of 56. McCann had been acting since the 60’s and did so all the way until the late 90’s. Another wonderful Irish actor Ray McAnally who also has passed away at the young age of 63. McAnally not only was a film actor, but what he is best known for was his amazing stage acting. If you watch McAnally perform you can see a sophisticated mastery of thespian beauty. A true performer that could take a character no matter small or large, and give a performance that made the viewer watch, or follow along. One part I will always remember him in is playing Sir William Gull in the TV miniseries, 1988’s Jack the Ripper, alongside the great Michael Caine.
Others in Angel are, the wonderful Don Foley. The brilliant actress Marie Kean, who sadly is also no longer with us. She was another wonderful Irish actress. She starred in such great films like, Barry Lyndon, The Dead. Mick Lally another wonderful Irish actor who also has passed away at the young age of 64. I know him best from the long running TV series Glenroe, and also in the TV series Ballykissangel. Also starring other wonderful actors and actresses such as, Derek Lord, Gerard McSorley, Tony Rohr, Anthony Tyler Quinn, Anita Reeves, and Lisa Ann McLaughlin. I have to mention a personal favorite of mine, this has actress Sorcha Cusack in it. I love this woman. She is such a great performer. She is absolutely a golden ticket of perfection in the world of acting. Most recently in the wonderful TV series Father Brown playing Mrs. McCarthy. I just had to send a huge shout out to her. I am absolutely enthralled by her many, vast performances. She has played in so many wonderful TV series such as Casualty, Coronation Street. She was also in one of my favorite TV series Silent Witness. It’s just great seeing all these gifted actors and actresses together in one film.
That is another reality I love about Jordan, is he uses so many wonderful Irish actors and actresses in his films. I have often thought Jordan is overlooked. He has his hits and misses, but the hits really stick with you. The Crying Game will always one of my favorite films. Angel is a unique watch in that you sense Jordan in it, and how all his other films would transpire from this first vision, or at least his structure of his early work.
There is a grittiness to his early films. His early films felt like average everyday life displaying itself on screen before the camera. Rea’s performance as Danny holds and creates that reality base feel that Jordan directs. Rea is a phenomenal actor that in my view has never got his limelight that he so strongly deserves. He has played in some of my favorite films. Some of those films are must see films. Films that bleed perfection, from the mentioned, The Crying Game, The Devil and the Doctors, to his many Jordan films, and his amazing talent in made for HBO films of the brutal, brilliant, disturbing must see film, Citizen X, and also the great historical crime film, Crime of the Century. He has a true sense of owning his characters in many films. He has acted since the 60’s, and is still going strong today with well over 100 performances both great and small.
Now there is two other realities you have to mention about this film that makes it all the more in standing out (Second reality see Extras). One is the cinematography. Not so much that’s its cinematography, but who is behind the cinematography. The extraordinary Chris Menges. Is the very soul and essence of the craft? Two time Academy Award winner for The Mission and The Killing Fields, and also nominated for two other films, Michael Collins, The Reader. As mentioned he is responsible for the cinematography for the brutal film The Killing Fields. That should sum up his excellence right there. If you’re a film lover then you know the importance of the films, The Killing Fields and The Mission.
I have never seen this, and what I can gather has never been released on DVD here in America, and so being able to compare it to something is impossible. So in that regard all I can say is this looks fantastic for its age. This high quality Blu-ray brings to life this older film. Amazing colors and sounds. For it being such a forgotten piece of cinema, Twilight Time has done an amazing job in fixing this movie up with an amazing outlet in picture and sound quality.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
Isolated Music and Effects Track: The second reality that makes this movie stand out is the music. The music throughout is great, and brings life to the characters, and the situations taken place. Composer Keith Donald is responsible for the Saxophone music throughout. The film also uses Patrick Meegan as a music arranger. From what I can figure out Meegan has gone on to other adventures, such as advertisement, but still works in theater and TV production. Composer Keith Donald is still kicking it today. Keith Donald composed all the Saxophone music for Angel. Keith has a massive music background. He has worked with hundreds of artists. His career has spanned films, commercials, orchestra gigs, and so much more. His expertise in music has lasted over 5 decades. His soul is for Jazz, but he has done many styles in the music world. Many will know him form the Irish band, Moving Hearts. The music in Angel is another reality that makes this film stand out. You can visit his sight for more info: www.keithdonald.com
You also get the wonderful booklet insert written by film historian Julie Kirgo. Always a fantastic read.
A forgotten film. A solid independent drama, thriller that leaves a lasting emotional reality. It’s a movie that has all the trademarks that would make Neil Jordan who he is.
Twilight Time did a lovely job in bringing this lost film to a modern generation. Originally titled Danny Boy, Angel comes to life on this new outlet. It’s an important film for lovers of
Neil Jordan, and seeing just how he started his career. Solid acting, amazing direction.
Wonderful music. This is a gritty old-school film that in my viewpoint is a must see. Highly recommended Blu-ray.
Make sure you head over to www.screenarchives.com to buy all the wonderful Twilight Time Blu-rays. The main page that gives you these beautiful releases on top quality Special Editions.
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