The Angel ★★★

A lot to like about this film, most notably Lorenzo Ferro's magnetic performance as the lead. (I don't think I've ever seen anyone pull off the gleeful smile after act of violence thing so casually and so effectively all at once.) The trailer had led me to expect something a bit more punchy and montage-driven, and I was pleased to see that wasn't the case, and it's getting at something interesting about the nature of being an outlaw and yet whether one is or isn't bound by other social codes.

But also, it gets a bit long in the tooth - the distended third act, in particular - and the sociopathic inscrutability of the lead makes it difficult to key in to what seem to be certain emotional turning points. I'm also of two minds as to whether it's a good or bad thing that real-life killer Carlos Robledo Puch's more extreme edges were sanded off for this film. It makes it more watchable, and it makes the lead more likable, but is that a good thing? There's also a one-two punch of a terrible CGI burning car as "House of the Rising Sun" plays, which would absolutely sink a lesser film. But this one also uses lots of Moondog and more obscure 70s rock, so it gets a pass.

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