It always comes down to that ending.
Lizzie (Noomi Rapace), caring for her only child with her now former husband Mike (Luke Evans), together have apparently suffered a horrific tragedy. Befriending the parents of her son’s friend (Yvonne Strahovski and Richard Roxburgh), Lizzie soon develops an unhealthy attachment to their daughter.
Rapace, no stranger to darker, psychological material, reliably drives Angel of Mine; frequently but never overstatedly hearkening back to that most consequential event on which we are largely left to speculate. Her heartrending reading of “I used to be funny” are among numerous moments where she adroitly ventures into territory compelling beyond that proffered by even her seasoned co-stars.
Strahovski, imparting much of the resonance which rendered her Handmaid’s Tale turn so memorable, likewise far from falters. Roxburgh, better known for his comedy bona fides, gets to flex his dramatic muscles which even given Rake and the like is still his best forte. Evans, as earnest as he is, here too saddled with one especially dramatic speech, never rises near the level of his colleagues; nonetheless emerging with one of his better performances.
Part of a genre that generally does little to discourage comparisons to Fatal Attraction, absent a scene involving a shower from which one will instantly recall the classic Angel of Mine is otherwise a fairly distinct addition to the form and moreover so for the conclusion.
A film that will fairly attract criticism for characters failing to call the Police when they really should have (yes they do discuss it) will likely divide audiences when it comes to the final act. The finale is a brazen about turn that will tug at any heartstrings and render itself memorable for being so novel, save of course L’Empreinte de l’ange, of which this is a remake. Simply never going far enough in the dialogue or chosen story beats to establish a necessarily plausible basis for such a development, what could have related better in a less intendedly sophisticated thriller that takes itself a fraction as serious here clashes with Angel of Mine’s unabatedly sincere tone.
Kim Farrant’s underrated and superior effort of years past Strangerland, likewise benefiting from a well-chosen cast, conversely managed an upending end through it’s considered, abruptly anti-climactic ‘non-conclusion,’ with her latter feature’s third act reaching for shocking heights nay suggested in tone or consequence by almost all else that transpires. Conspicuous over and above for characters silently protruding on the film’s culmination when there’s really no way they could have happened on this scene so quietly, as far as they go to selling it even the exceptional leads can’t land the takeaway.
Angel of Mine screened as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival, screens as part of the Darwin International Film Festival on September 20, is in cinemas now and screens as part of Screenwave on January 10 & 13, 2020