Fallen (1998) – Review

2 Stars

There is a compelling 90-minute story in the jumbled mix of the 124 minutes running time of Fallen. This is a standard detective tale with a supernatural angle. The film’s central concept is a silly concoction that was handled better in Wes Craven’s Shocker. However, Fallen is given credibility and resonance due to the strong acting from its well-rounded cast members. Still, this is a forgettable thriller that owes much to Raymond Chandler and David Fincher’s Seven.

Philadelphia Homicide detective John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) witnesses the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese (Elias Koteas). Soon after the execution, the killings start again, and they are very similar to Reese’s style. That’s because the murder’s spirit is jumping from person to person by touch. Hobbs and his partner, Jonesy (John Goodman) soon realize that they are dealing with a fallen angel known as Azazel, who possesses human beings.

Oscar nominee Nicholas Kazan is the author behind Fallen’s script. It’s not his strongest work. The story begins promisingly enough with some intriguing elements being set-up. But the picture drags in the middle before limping into its final climax. Denzel Washington is a standout in a cast full of strong actors. He’s fascinating to watch on-screen even in lower tier productions like this. Director Gregory Hoblit is an odd choice for the material. His preference for using elongated screen aspect ratios to showcase the possessions is a hokey gimmick. Perhaps a stronger visually advanced filmmaker would have shepherded this sprawling material into a more streamlined final product.

Director: Gregory Hoblit
Stars: Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland

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