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DVD Two Stars
I was worried from the outset at watching Angel for it is a costume drama and I have to admit to being a little bored with them all, especially from coming across too many on BBC television costume dramas. They all seem to follow the same sort of plot lines and are about repressed sexuality and heaving bosoms.

However Angel seems to offer something a little different and a little quirky, and plus it features Michael Fassbender who just came to my attention as an Orange BAFTA Rising Star nominee, Charlotte Rampling and Sam Neill. So I was keen to watch it.

Plot.pngAngel.jpgOn 1905 Angel believes she's going to be a great novelist and she'll abuse anyone who gets in her way, even her mother, she's determined to fulfil her dreams and actually believes the world deserves her talent. She sends her first novel to publishers while she's still at school and amazingly one likes her work and takes a chance on her.

She's soon famous, writing novel after novel to great public acclaim, but despite her fame she's missing the one thing she keeps writing about, love. She leaps at it when it's presented to her but the reality of love turns out to be far from what she imagined in her novels.

TheFilm.pngI found the biggest problem with trying to enjoy the film was that there was no single character in the story that you could possibly feel is likeable or to feel any sort of connection with. The male lead character is self-centred, self-obsessed, nasty and cares not a jot for anyone else in the story, and the female lead character is similarly self-obsessed but not so intentionally nasty, she's mentally child-like and naive just wants the world to be the same as the one in her head despite anyone else's dreams or feelings. Hardly a character there to love or enjoy.

Added to that I struggled with the lead female character's effect on the film and with me, it just isn't clear if it's meant to be a little fantastical, farcical, or not at all and meant to take it seriously, and when you think you just might have a handle on the character and the story it seems to change tact again.

Funny, fantasy or reality? That seems to be the question running through my head throughout the film and I could never really be sure. Part of my mind kept wondering if this story was happening in the lead character's head.

Of course without any hint of direction from the film itself this continual uncertainty about the position of the story soon became boring and was another reason for me to disengage from it all.

The story does race along at a fair pace and doesn't take the time to give the characters depth and doesn't explore the situations and events. It glosses over events and seems overly rushed. Not only does it seem too superficial, but it does seem to miss out some major aspects of the story and just leap over them giving us nothing more than a passing reference, or a note to the past event.

There's a little more darkness and depth to the second half, and that's a very welcome change. However it still doesn't manage to bring much more likeability or connections to the characters.

The lead actress, Romola Garai, does do a good job of playing her character, even if I couldn't get to grips with her or like her, she still performed her very well, as did a number of the other actors including Michael Fassbender and Lucy Russell.

None of their performances can save the film which I just couldn't connect with on a story or a character level. I actually became bored with the unlikeable and even hate-worthy characters.

The picture upscales well although there are some issues with artefacts but they aren't overly noticeable and won't upset your viewing. However there are a couple of back projection scenes which are just terrible to watch, but it turns out that this was a director's choice to reflect the 1950's style of filming, a deliberate addition to the film. Still it doesn't make it look any better.

Audio.pngDolby Digital 5.1
The music does hit the rear speakers but that's about the only time you do hear them come into play, after all there's nothing more than the dialogue, but it could have done with a few ambient sounds during some of the scenes.

Extras.pngDomestic and International cuts, Featurette, Photos
Domestic and International cuts:
The DVD offers two different cuts of the film, the Domestic and international versions. The Domestic runs at 128 minutes, which is the one I watched, however the International runs only at 115 minutes. Although thirteen minutes dropped wouldn't have made much difference to my review of the film, I do like it when alternative versions of the film are offered on the same DVD.

The DVD offers a good featurette with plenty of talk from the writer and director and the lead actors about the filming, the story and their performances. It provides for some interesting insight into the film and gives you a little extra perspective on the story and the characters, something that is really needed.

Overall.pngI really didn't enjoy this film at all, and I don't really care how famous the names are in front of or behind the camera, the story is very poorly told and it gains no interest while viewing it as there's not a single character to care for or connect with, and the story is told at such a pace you are whipped across it, glossing over the story and missing out deeper, more dramatic elements. It's so glossed over there just isn't anything to get involved with.

Buy or rent on DVD from LOVEFiLM
Buy from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
UK IMDB Details



You're not alone in your dislike. I had serious issues with the film and though I liked the basic premise and even the performances, at every moment I just wanted to choke the life out of Angel. She was annoying, endlessly distracting and a black hole sucking in all emotion. If nothing else, it's a great, and noteworthy, performance from Romola Garai but aside from that it's a despicable little film and one I don't wish to re-visit any time soon. And maybe that's the point? I'm not sure.

She was good, but I couldn't help but just hate her the way you describe, none of the characters were likeable though, and watching the extras I do believe that's what the director intended!

I'm watching it right now and just went on the internet to see if others hated it as much as I do. What a despicable character. And what a confusing film. Are we supposed to be charmed by her when the music suddenly gets all schmaltzy and there are close ups of her beautiful face? She's just an appalling character. No grace, no consideration for others, all arrogance and self interest. The only likable person in the film is the publisher's wife. She, at least, has honesty. What a waste of beautiful costumes and sets, not to mention good actors. It's almost as if the play was filmed by someone who knew nothing about human beings -- in much the same way Angel writes about events and circumstances she knows nothing about. If that was the point of the film, it's much too subtle. It just looks like a bad film.


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