Picks and Pans Review: Descending Angel

updated 11/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/26/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

HBO (Sun., Nov. 25, 9 P.M. ET)

B-

Diane Lane returns to Grand Rapids, Mich., to introduce her betrothed (Eric Roberts) to her father (George C. Scott), a Romanian immigrant who is now an influential community figure. But Scott's prosperity and imperious old-world manner cannot gloss over the lingering accusations that he participated in atrocities at a concentration camp during World War II.

Along with that plot, there is also a convoluted mystery involving the death of Scott's wife, not to mention a clash between the community's carefully preserved values and the young lovers' hotsy-totsy sexual relationship, and Lane's unresolved Electra complex. The film is so busy establishing and maintaining these tangled themes that it never gets the story flowing. But it is well acted, particularly by Roberts in a rare restrained outing. Without the maniacal edge he usually maintains onscreen, Roberts seems like a completely different person.

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