"There are angels. Some of these angels were cast down. And a few of the fallen were punished by being deprived of form." Fallen is the story of the battle between the demon, or fallen angel, Azazel and Detective John Hobbes. There are definite parallels between Hobbes and his namesake philosopher, but this movie just isn't worth the effort it would take to draw that out. We start off with Hobbes (Denzel Washington) crawling his way through the snow, with some voiceover talking about the time he almost died. It's definitely Denzel's voice. The story then backtracks to Hobbes' last meeting with a crazed murderer he helped put in prison. The killer is about to be executed. There's some singing and some general creepiness, the guy is gassed, and we move on. But wait... a series of murders bearing the distinctive stamp of the now-dead killer is steadily coming to the attention of our hero. Ooooh. Creepy.
The thrust of it is that there's a demon who enjoys messing with human society by possessing people and turning them into killers. This demon has got a little thing for Hobbes and starts toying with him. Hobbes is, apparently, unpossessable or something. Because the demon can jump from body to body via touch, there's some minor tension about who he is at any given moment. The whole movie is so transparent, though, that it's never very suspenseful. Even the curve-balls and the trick ending are predictable.
Usually a movie will provoke some kind of emotional response. It's pretty easy to review a movie you love, like, dislike, or hate. What to do when you just feel nothing? When the movie is so completely dull that it doesn't merit the time and energy it takes to put words to paper? That's the case with Fallen. It should have been better. It stars Denzel Washington, John Goodman, and Donald Sutherland. (Oh how the mighty have fallen. Heh.) It has the pedigree to be better. If it is remarkable in any way, it is through its unrelenting mediocrity.
The presentation is okay. The story spans three seasons and the cinematography captures each of them nicely. You can tell the director was trying to pull off a certain visual style, but it just doesn't seem to come through enough to be exceptional.
The commentary track (surprise!) sucks. The participants spend inordinate amounts of time suggesting "Why don't you talk about..." Come on! At least come to a commentary taping prepared. Have notes or something. Sheesh. The rest of the extras (cast bios, theatrical trailer, etc.) are run-of-the-mill. This disc is not at all a good use of the medium.
Lisa McInnis, 10/12/00