Sunday, 20 June 2010

Film Review: ANGELS & DEMONS (2009)

Director: Ron Howard
Running time: 138 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

UK release date: 14th May 2009

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 20th June 2010.


Having previously seen this at the cinema, I thought it might be interesting to give it a second viewing on the small screen.

I had read the Dan Brown novel before seeing the film. There are a lot of differences between the two, but the main plot line of the book remains. The main difference being that the part of the Camerlengo, played by Ewan McGregor, is portrayed as an Irish man as opposed to an Italian in the book. I will try to not dwell too much on the differences between the novel and the film, so as to review the film as a stand-alone work. I must say though that Ron Howard is one of my favourite directors, having directed some of my all-time favourite films, including Cocoon (1985), A Beautiful Mind (2001) and the absolutely brilliant Apollo 13 (1995).

The Pope has died and his successor is to be chosen from the conclave of assembled Cardinals. Four of their number, the preferitti, have been kidnapped and the other Cardinals are unaware that a bomb, comprised of antimatter, has been hidden in the Vatican. Symbologist Robert Langdon is called in and he must decipher clues left the ancient group known as the Illuminati before the bomb goes off and the four kidnapped Cardinals are murdered. He has the help of beautiful physicist Vittoria Vetra, whose father was killed when the antimatter for the bomb was stolen and the head of the Swiss Guard, who protect the Vatican City, Commander Richter. There are many plot twists in this tale of treachery and revenge, as more clues are revealed and the Illuminati take retribution for centuries of persecution.

This is an exciting thriller with some great action and a fast-moving plot. I thought the cinematography and the costumes were very well done. The setting is Rome and the Vatican City, although I have read that the Catholic Church banned filming in any church. Given that, the locations were excellent. The performances by all of the main characters were also excellent, Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Ewan McGregor as Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, Ayelet Zurer as Vittoria Vetra and Stellan SkarsgÄrd as Commander Richter. Honourable mentions go to Pierfrancesco Favino as Inspector Olivetti and Nikolaj Lie Kaas as the Assassin. Over all, an enjoyable, fast-moving thriller which had a quite complicated plot, so you have to concentrate. I did find it a little long though at 138 minutes but still recommended.

My score: 7/10

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