A first-person Faustian detective novel presents quite a problem to the screenwriter, and Parker's alterations to William Hjortsberg's Falling Angel slacken the cunning weave of strands. Private eye Harry Angel (Rourke) is hired by the mysterious and malevolent Louis Cyphre (De Niro) to find a missing crooner who dabbled in the occult; but Angel's leads all wind up dead in a series of ritual murders. The supernatural is rendered in standard props (steam from a New York grating, silent nuns, the ominous motif of the clanking ceiling fan), and the information encoded in Angel's dreams emerges in the standard approved fashion. There isn't much imagination at work, but - damagingly - there is the disastrous quirkiness of a Coney island beach scene for winter sunbathers, while a copulation scene featuring writhing bodies and a ceiling pouring blood overwhelms the final horror of the detective's situation.
Cast and crew
Robert De Niro