Angel – 2007

I am now halfway thorugh Francois Ozon’s body of work and I still have no idea what to expect from the next film I watch.

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Angel is an odd film, featuring one of the most annoying protagonists the world has ever known. Angel (Romola Garai)) is obnoxious, precocious and downright rude, yet somehow becomes a character with whom you can empathise. An impressive feat of performance from any actress.

The film does seem to be full of such contrasts. Angel’s world is so strikingly different from the one she actually lives in. Her persistence in maintaining these extravagancies, her outrageous clothing, her expensive mansion and her trophy husband makes her totally at odds with the world. In the film this represents itself in colour, while the world at large is drab and gray angel’s mere presence in a shot brings vivid, oversaturated colours. It is somewhat tragic that the man she loves cannot see the colours of her world even when surrounded by them. In fact Angel’s whole life seems to be a tragedy of a lonely girl lost in her own world. The film could have played up to this perfectly, particularly given the final reveal of her fate, a wonderful scene, played as the tragedy it is.

However the film doesn’t ever rest for long in one place. There are moments where the whole piece seems to be a satire of celebrity or a pastiche of old Hollywood movies. But these are all passing moments, nothing remains constant and so the film finishes up feeling lost, stuck between genres and ideas. Forever doomed to not really say anything about anything at all. The effect is overwhelming but leaves no lasting impression. You are simply confronted by a screen full of colours and ideas but they are all so incompletely formed that you cannot grasp hold of a point, it doesn’t hold together. It seems such a waste for a film that could have said so much.

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