ANGEL (2015)

2 out of 10

Release Date: 20th July 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Ray Burdis (The Wee Man / Love Honour & Obey / Final Cut / Operation: Good Guys (TV))

Cast: Margo Stilley, John Hannah, Jenn Murray, Karel Roden, Andrew Woodall, Jason Maza, Stephen Billington, Mark Burdis, Georgina Hale, Christopher Sciueref, Beryl Nesbitt with Crissy Rock, Richard Blackwood and Peter-Hugo Daly

Writer: Ray Burdis

Trailer: ANGEL (2015)

CLGm1o-WgAAWjfkIt would seem that as of late, the bigger the names in the cast the lamer the film. Angel (2015) comes equipped with an experienced and mostly talented cast but it will be hard to find worse performances from any of them elsewhere. Former actor, Burdis,came back as a director last year, after dabbling in the trade in the late 90s, with a solid gangster movie called The Wee Man. There was nothing special about it but it looked the part, was well scripted and solidly acted. Everything that was right with The Wee Man is wrong with his directorial follow-up, Angel (2015).

An utterly unconvincing police procedural-cum-serial killer thriller-cum-government conspiracy, Angel (2015) packs in so much plot into its slender running time that it races through without a pause to make it a) exciting b) remotely plausible c) watchable.  Movie detective, Det. Bradbury (an uninterested and utterly bored looking MARGO STILLEY – 9 SONGS) teams up with an erratic Det. Lapslie (a miscast, over-acting JOHN HANNAH – FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL) to track down a serial killing psychopath called Angel (JENN MURRAY) who has been let out of a mental home by a naive MP (STEPHEN BILLINGTON – CORONATION STREET) to cut up anyone who pisses her off. Pity poor newcomer Jenn Murray who gets to perform from some of the worst bits of the unintentionally funny / bad script as the titular Angel. Living next door on bad actor street is the once dependable Jason Maza (#LEGACY) who puts in a terrible appearance (possibly his worst yet) as a potential boyfriend for Angel, his dialogue is terrible and matched up with his dreadful attempt at a northern accent he can add this film to the pile of embarrassments he tries to tip toe away from. There’s some good work put in by bit-part actor Peter-Hugo Daly (ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS) as a paedophilic clown and comedian Crissy Rock (LADYBIRD, LADYBIRD) but this is a mostly a tragic rush job. Its potentially interesting conspiracy plot seems botched and when twinned with the crappy script and its wildly uneven performances, Angel (2015) is a big disappointment.

2 out of 10 – Flat and weird non-thriller (formerly known as Still Waters) is another example of name actors sullying their good names for a couple of quid whilst hoping secretly that the results will never see the light of day. Everyone involved needs to give their managers and their egos a good talking to. Awful in every way.

Look below for Matt Usher’s review if you dare…



One thought on “ANGEL (2015)

  1. Review by Matt ‘Christmas Fairy’ Usher – aka Joe Pesci II

    Is there a massive paedophile-ring-cover-up in Britain? Or is it all a stupid witch-hunt? Everyone thinks they have the answer, including film-maker Ray Burdis, who offers his views on the matter in ANGEL. Alas, two serious subjects (cover-ups and paedophilia) receive terrible treatment in this silly, ill-considered exploitation flick dressed up as an urgent conspiracy thriller.

    When she was little ANGEL was a plaything in a politicians’ paedophile abuse ring which involved her nan (played with regal nuttiness by Georgina Hale) and an inevitable circus clown (Peter-Hugo Daly). So the girl commits a couple of brutal but imaginative murders (scalping Hale and later wearing her skin as a hat). She spends fifteen years in jail before being released by an ambitious crusading MP who has campaigned secretly to have her secretly released (whilst telling the public she died in prison) in order to boost his own electability (does Mr Burdis not spot any flaws in this plan?). So ANGEL potters about working as a care assistant to old ladies, who she then tortures and slays whenever mildly irked.

    Meanwhile hard-as-nails Margo Stilley (we know she’s hard ‘cos she’s got a gun and swears a lot) plays a secret service operative who catches an arms smuggler (who later takes the blame for ANGEL’s new crimes in exchange for being freed only to be double-crossed and murdered by the government). Having done that, she’s drafted in to track ANGEL down.

    She teams up with John Hannah, playing a policeman who is both stressed (so he swears a lot) and who suddenly becomes an expert on paedophile abuse victims turned serial killers (I think he probably read an Idiots Guide to Psychopaths when he spent the night on Stilley’s couch). Despite their expertise these two turn out to be clueless coppers. It’s the regular police and some bloke with a computer who actually track ANGEL down. Meanwhile Stilley stands around threatening genitally-related pain while Hannah keeps saying that ANGEL is about to go f****** supernova.

    Once the police have worked out where ANGEL is, Stilley and Hannah leap in for the glory moment, but one of them gets his/her throat slashed (not saying who). Then the film begins to get moderately interesting. As the affair reaches into high echelons of public life the government has to hush everything up which means those involved start getting bumped off. This conspiracy element is potentially quite interesting, but the plot doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny.

    I haven’t mentioned the film’s best character, as played by the dependable Andrew Woodall. He’s a government fixer who’s supposedly at the highest level of security. Yet every time he speaks he gives away government secrets: ‘yeah we did the same with Myra Hindley’, ‘that’s what happened to David Kelly’. Shouldn’t he keep that stuff to himself? In using real events to bolster his shoddy story Burdis does himself no favours: instead of boosting his own story’s credibility he just exposes the fact that rather than doing any research he’s just repeating stories he’s been told down the pub by some bloke who says he’s got a mate who knows about these things.

    The film divides into two halves: the perpetrator’s shenanigans, and the investigation. The latter is a hi-tech world of modern detection, with Stilley, Hannah and token foreign hitman Karel Roden charging about with mobile phones and flash cars and using the internet and CCTV. Then there’s ANGEL’s world: a world of 1950s bedsits and fairgrounds and Georgina Hale as a pervert Miss Havisham. And Jason Maza. If someone makes a biopic about popular 1940s entertainer George Formby, they should cast Maza, who uncannily channels the great ukulele-playing comedian’s spirit here in the role of George, ANGEL’s doomed lover. He certainly fits into the world that Burdis is unconvincingly conjuring up, but why has Burdis chosen to dress this part of the story up as a twisted period fairy-tale? I can just about understand him doing that with the flashbacks to ANGEL’s experiences as a little girl (even though those scenes are set in the late 1990s), but continuing with that approach is nonsensical. I suppose it’s meant to somehow show that ANGEL is still a child in a world of her own. But in reality it’s the film-makers who are in a world of make-believe.

    Margo Stilley sounds (and looks) like she’s been dubbed by someone with a cut-glass English accent. Maybe it is Stilley’s voice (I’ve not seen/heard her before) but if that’s the case she should sack her accent coach. Meanwhile, poor John Hannah. What happened? He used to do this sort of thing (but better) for his day job on TV. He’s not given much to work with (other than reciting stuff like ‘she’s approaching critical f****** mass’), but this must (I hope) be his career low (maybe he needed a new fridge). Jenn Murray plays the disturbed and disturbing ANGEL. She may be a good actress, but the director requires her to have only three modes of behaviour: sweet as pie, mildly worried, and demonic (signalled by a hard stare that Paddington would be proud of, and use of language that he would be shocked by). (Actually that sums it up: ANGEL is like a human psychopathic version of Paddington Bear.)

    In the credits, the producers give extra special thanks to some people who made the film possible, presumably a consortium of crowdfunders. I hope they didn’t lose too much (either financially or in terms of self-respect). What’s impressive though is that there are 969 names listed. Yes, I counted. I advise you Mr Walker and you Mrs Denison and your 967 colleagues to report Ray Burdis to trading standards (if the government hasn’t privatised it) for time-wasting or bad film-making.

    The dvd says ‘hell hath no fury like a scorned angel’. Could they really not have come up with ‘hell hath no fury like an angel scorned’? Evidently not. That’s the film in a nutshell. If only I’d read it before watching.

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