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Angel

Director: Neil Jordan


Jordan’s first feature is remembered for the controversy which surrounded its funding (through the Irish Film Board), but it was also the first Channel 4-supported film to receive a cinema release. In the film’s revenge structure, saxophonist Danny (played by Stephen Rea in the first of eight appearances in Jordan’s films) hunts down the loyalist murder gang who killed the young girl (Veronica Quilligan) he had befriended. Its disinterest in formal politics in favour of the director’s concern with a ‘metaphysics of violence’ lead some to question its limited engagement with the North. In retrospect, it can perhaps be seen that Angel is atypical of Jordan’s work, though his interest in the rich visual qualities of cinema, a hallmark of his career, is evident from the film’s opening scene at the ‘Dreamland’ ballroom. The film is beautifully photographed by Chris Menges (he also shot Michael Collins and The Good Thief), a factor which has lead to Jordan being viewed as that rarity in Irish cinemaoa stylist.
Ireland-U.K., 1982. Colour. 92 mins.

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