Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Angel Of Death (2009)
Angel Of Death is an interesting little experiment over on the website, Crackle. It was created by comics writer Ed Brubaker, author of the noirish Batman tales The Man Who Laughs and Gotham Noir. Angel Of Death stars stuntwoman Zoe Bell as an assassin named Eve. After a hit goes wrong and Eve ends up with a four inch blade stabbed into her skull, she begins to experience visions of one of her victims, a young girl who wants Eve to kill the men who call the shots in a big time crime family. As Eve works her way through her former bosses, we meet a large cast of characters including a jittery doctor (Doug Jones, in the production's best performance), a prostitute (Lucy Lawless, whom Bell used to stunt double for on Xena), and psycho brother and sister vying for control of a crime family.
The project is interesting to me for a few reasons: for one thing, I've had a crush on Zoe Bell since I saw her strapped the roof of a 1970 Dodge Challenger in Tarantino's Death Proof (followed by seeing her in the documentary Double Dare about stuntwomen). I can't make claims for Bell as a great actress, but she does throw a punch better than anyone in movies. She's fascinating in the same way Bruce Lee was fascinating.
Secondly, this type of web feature might be a wave of the future. I never (never never never) want to give up the theater as my primary source of movies, but I can see the digital/Internet wave coming, and I wonder if a production (I choose that word carefully) such as this one is part of this wave. The story unfolds in ten separate 8-10 minute webisodes, each one full of hardboiled dialogue, low rent production values, hit-or-miss acting, and a lot of fine ass-kicking. It ain't art, but it doesn't want to be art.
Which brings me to another reason this kind of thing interests me: could art unfold in a form like this? "Film noir" may have the imprimatur of French criticism, but it started out as a disparate collection of low rent genre flicks. Much of it still is. For every Detour, there were three shitty crime flicks churned out by the likes of Sam Newfield. And yet, real art--great lasting art, imperishable art--was created in the noir idiom. Could something similar take place on the web?
You can watch Angel Of Death for free at Crackle, starting here with the first episode.
You can also see Bell and Brubaker interviewed here.
Finally, I've written before about noirish experiments.