[box cover]

Angel Eyes

It doesn't take a genius to guess the big "plot twist" in Angel Eyes — it's pretty obvious from the moment tough-gal Chicago cop Sharon Pogue (Jennifer Lopez) meets mysterious stranger Catch (Jim Caviezel) that he's got something to do with the movie's opening car accident sequence. But despite Catch's vague air of instability and menace, the promise of Sixth Sense-style supernatural thrills that was cultivated in the movie's ad campaign goes nowhere; this is a film that's too eerie to be a love story but too relationship-focused to be truly suspenseful. The first half is all right, before the is-he-a-stalker-or-isn't-he bubble bursts: Catch saves Sharon from death at the hands of a street punk with a gun, she lets down her guard and makes herself vulnerable to him, they share a picnic and a steamy tryst at the lake. But once everyone in the movie knows what the audience guessed about Catch in the first 10 minutes, Angel Eyes loses its momentum and becomes a weepy drama about finding redemption and struggling with the ghosts of the past. Sharon's issues with her family are sad but distracting (and, really, who thought casting Jesus' Jeremy Sisto as J. Lo's brother made sense?), while Caviezel switches from distant and enigmatic to warm and fuzzy in about the amount of time it takes to roll your eyes and sigh. He's a good actor, but he should start thinking about playing something besides conflicted men stretched to their breaking point (which he mastered in Frequency). And Lopez is certainly convincing as a perp-busting cop, but it would have been nice — not to mention more realistic — if her fear of vulnerability had lasted a little bit longer. C'mon, even if he saved your life, would you invite a one-named stranger up to your apartment the first night you met him? Angel Eyes doesn't succeed as a romantic drama because the audience keeps waiting for Catch to pull a Psycho on Sharon; if director Luis Mandoki had delivered on that anticipation, he might have ended up with a better (or at least more fun) movie. Mandoki provides Angel Eyes' one big DVD feature: a chatty, somewhat-breathless full-length commentary track. Despite a few unnatural pauses, the director offers an informative (if gushing) take on the movie. Other extras include cast and crew filmographies and English, French, and Spanish subtitles. The disc's menus are worth noting — they very handily let you flip from one area of the DVD to another without first going back to the main screen, which is a nice feature. There's nothing to complain about in the "look and sound" department, either: The anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) is clean and strong, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is clear as a bell (French 5.1 is also available). Snap-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



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