Always teetering on the edge of perversity, Angel Heart polarized audiences and critics; the squeamish considered it dehumanizing drivel, the unflappable applauded its daring. The truth is somewhere in between. Alan Parker's graphic forays into amorality do often seem to exist primarily for their shock value, including -- but by no means limited to -- the famous sex scene between Lisa Bonet and Mickey Rourke. But the clever script more than redeems its seedier elements by the close, making Angel Heart more like an extension of Parker's fascination with mental torture (following Midnight Express and Pink Floyd: The Wall) than the kind of sleazy late-night noir that would soon become synonymous with Rourke. At the brief height of his career, Rourke radiates the mounting hysteria of a man caught in purgatory, surrounded and eventually engulfed by sadistic evil. By the time he pieces together the mystery, the audience has walked in his shoes enough to absorb his emotional outpouring. Although the "look what I can do" quality of Parker's envelope-pushing will never agree with everyone, Angel Heart does offer rewards to those viewers willing to penetrate its grisly surface.
by Derek Armstrong review