Perfect Partnership: Angel
Actor/director collaborations are a cinema staple: think John Wayne and John Ford, Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack and Robert Redford, all nurturing and career-defining. That’s also the case with two icons of Irish filmmaking: writer-director Neil Jordan and actor Stephen Rea, who teamed on no less than 11 films over 30 years. The boundary-pushing Jordan cast Rea in lead or top supporting roles in a range of movies that includes Interview with the Vampire (1994), Michael Collins (1996), The Butcher Boy (1997), The Brave One (2007) and two acutely astonishing and emotional love stories, The End of the Affair (1999) and the gender-bending breakthrough The Crying Game (1992). Their uniquely indelible partnership began with the moody and affecting Angel (1982, shown in the U.S. as Danny Boy in 1984), Jordan’s debut in the director’s chair. It deals with the themes of ideological loyalties, broken relationships and the touches of the humorous and the surreal amid harsh reality that mark Jordan’s best work, this one focusing on a musician whose harrowing brush with the “troubles” in Northern Ireland changes him forever. Shepherded by executive producer John Boorman and simmering with a jazz score and great Chris Menges cinematography, it’s precisely the sort of personal and professional project that gets great teamwork off to a fabulous start. Angel comes to hi-def Blu-ray from Twilight Time on September 8; pre-orders open on August 26.