Picks and Pans Review: Fallen
If 75 percent of Americans believe—as a recent survey showed and Touched by an Angel's weekly ratings attest—that angels really flit about the earth doing good, then you have to figure plenty of folks will buy into this supernatural thriller's premise that demonic spirits also exist. But Fallen—the title refers to fallen angels, those Luciferian followers tossed out of heaven along with their leader way back when—is less than inspiring.
It's about a homicide detective (resolutely played by Washington) who slowly realizes that the murderer he's tracking is a bad guy whose evil can be viewed only in biblical proportions. Or, more accurately, bad guys, since this vile spirit inhabits, and passes from, human host to human host. (Hint: If someone behind you in line starts humming the Rolling Stones' 1964 song "Time Is on My Side," skedaddle out of there but fast.)
Fallen is essentially Seven by way of The Exorcist, but it delivers neither the perverse kicks of the Brad Pitt film nor the made-you-jump scares of the Linda Blair classic. Rather, as directed by Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear) and written by Nicholas Kazan (Reversal of Fortune), it offers much Bible-thumping deep talk about good and evil and a visual trick I'm dubbing Demon Cam, in which everything is viewed through a yellowish filter. Remember Hannah Arendt's classic about the banality of evil? Fallen is as banal as evil gets. (R)
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