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Angel-A

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A depressed, debt-ridden young man -- a Parisian by way of Morocco with an American green card -- saves a tree-top-tall gorgeous blonde from her plunge into the Seine. In gratitude, the divinely named Angela (Rie Rasmussen) offers to help André (Jamel Debbouze) get back on track. This talky hybrid from Luc Besson is a mix of comedy, fantasy, romance and self-help manual. Beautifully shot in rich black and white, Angel-A looks heavenly, but the story of man-meets-angel is rather earthbound (and for cineastes bound to be reminiscent of earlier angel-centric films such Wings of Desire and It's a Wonderful Life, plus any number of mash notes to broody love in the City of Light). But doesn't Paris look gorgeous -- all bridges and graceful boulevards and ornate domiciles -- and strangely depopulated, as if the hordes of residents, workers and tourists who give it life have been erased less they compromise the aesthetic? Besson's pretty but slim picture feels similarly empty. In French, with subtitles.

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