|Star:||Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, Viggo Mortensen|
|Cert / Year:||18 - R / 1995|
On the day that Tommy Daggett (Elias Koteas) is to be ordained a priest he sees a vision of angels being slaughtered in heaven. Screaming in horror at what he has seen, Thomas is led away, unable to become a priest. Years later as a homicide detective, Thomas is contacted by a mysterious stranger calling himself Simon (Eric Stoltz) whom enquires of Thomas if he believes that he is part of "God's" plan. Soon afterward Thomas is called to the scene of a crime where the victim's hermaphroditic body poses more than one or two questions. The corpse died in the possession of a small handwritten bible, that puzzlingly features a Revelation 23. Thomas sets about translating the ancient script that is a combination of Latin, Angelic script and Kaballist text. From his translation Thomas discovers the history of a 1000 year old war waged between two factions of Angels in Heaven. One side are enraged at not being God's favourites and playing second to the human race, which they call "talking monkeys". The other, loyal to God is trying to protect the humans and uphold the word of God. Thomas also discovers a "prophecy" of a dark soul that will end the Angel war, capable of devouring other souls he will be a warrior and also a human. Simon is working for God and trying to take the soul back to heaven before the cold and vicious archangel Gabriel ( Christopher Walken) can acquire it for his own dark purpose, to throw out the human souls from Heaven.
Written and directed by Gregory Widen, whom is probably better known as the writer of Highlander. The Prophecy has a superb story and is an impressive and original film, affording a far more interesting perspective to the more established concepts of angels. This is not your typical pseudo-religious clap trap and what you have is a subtle and clever story conveniently immersed in popular religion without preaching or simpering up to religious ideals. The mere hint of religious twaddle put me off watching this film for quite some time, but I have to admit I am glad I did watch it otherwise I would have missed a captivating and surprisingly good film.
The direction by Widen is simple and nicely put together, nothing too extravagant and features some good set pieces. What special effects are used, are done wisely and unobtrusively without diminishing any momentum or otherwise marring the subtle atmosphere. Not your usual fare, film wise but a plutonic and quite subtle depiction of the ultimate "good versus evil" confrontation. Having the protagonists in this battle as angels is quite a disturbing concept for the more religiously aware out there, but as the film points out; in the Bible whenever God wanted someone punished or killed it was always an angel that he sent to do his bidding. Knowing this, would you ever want to really meet an angel, always having one wing dipped in blood? Which does of course provide an interesting balance and possibly raises several arguments for some viewers.
A cool cast all provide some good performances with a brunette Virginia Madsen as female lead and working well with the generally underrated Elias Koteas whom is probably still trying to live down his role in the Teenage Turtle movies. A fabulously cadaverous performance by Christopher Walken who effortlessly waltz's in his inimittable style through his role of the chillingly charismatic and vehement Gabriel. Eric Stoltz is a little under used but provides a fine performance, as does the excellent Viggo Mortensen as Lucifer. The scenes featuring Lucifer are quite poigniant and pretty creepy, I felt that Walken and Mortensen worked well together, but overrall it is Christopher Walken that steals the show here. Adam Goldberg crops up in an amusing supporting performance as one of Gabriel's unwitting "helpers" as does a particuarly bland Amanda Plummer in another of her screamy bitch roles.
The Prophecy is an excellent movie and very underrated. A well written story nicely set out and cleverly realized in this form. Unfortunately, the film does appear to be a victim of the dreaded tagged on sickly sweet gazing into the sunset ending. This is about 5 minutes longer than it should be, as the realistically the film should have ended with the exit of Lucifer which would have been a far better ending to this ethereal thriller.
There is a war in heaven and hell is about to break loose.
Gabriel: "Jerry, come here. If you were a soul, where would you hide?"
Jerry: "The hell away from you".
Gabriel: "You know how you got that dent on your top lip? Way back, before you were born. I told you a secret. Then I put my finger there, and I said Shhh!
|2.35:1 Widescreen||Nice clean image|
|Dolby Digital 5.1||Cool soundtrack|
|Dreary static menu|
|Glad they got around to releasing this on DVD in the UK. Disc is unfortunately rather light on the extra features front but a nice transfer.|