The war between angels and demons has been depicted in film and television since the inception of moving pictures. There is something fascinating about the Judeo-Christian tales of fallen angels and the war in Heaven that has inspired some of the most famous stories known. In 1995 a film starring the incredible Christopher Walken appeared and surprised everyone who saw it. Although it is not very well known today, it has become somewhat of a cult hit that inspired several sequels.
Today’s Key Movie:
The Angel Gabriel (Walken) has come to Earth to collect a soul that could turn the tide in the War in Heaven. With the help of Simon (Eric Stoltz), It is up to a former priest turned cop (Elias Koteas) to prevent Gabriel from completing his task. Also starring Virginia Madsen, Amanda Plummer, Adam Goldberg and Vigo Mortensen, This is The Prophecy.
Why this movie?
Growing up, my family had an addition to the horror genre. Anything that was supernatural, scary or just plain weird was right up our ally. I am not sure when or where I first saw this film, it was either on VHS or one of the random Showtime free weekends, but I do remember loving it the first time I laid eyes on this intriguing film.
For some reason, the 90’s were filled with films about angels and demons. From Paul Hogan’s Almost an Angel in 1990 to 1998’s Fallen, the entire decade had some film depicting everything from the humorous aspects to the horror. One of the most intriguing, at least to me, was The Prophecy. It’s unique take on the War in Heaven has stayed with me well into my adulthood and I recommend this film to most anyone looking for something different.
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
Written and directed by Gregory Widen, who also penned Highlander and, interestingly enough, Backdraft, I have to say, this is one of the great sleeper hits of the 90’s. Presented as part investigative tale, part horror story, part supernatural thriller. What I love about this film is that it takes the basic Bible stories many of us know about the Angelic war in Heaven and puts a clever spin on it. The Angels who have fought eons ago are far from done with their war, in fact, they are still fighting it. This time, however, they are fighting for their chance to return to the favor they once had in the eyes of God.
Production wise, this is a very well made independent film that really manages to convey the darkness and the intrigue that surrounds the films subject. While it does have a very methodical and relatively slow pacing, this film manages to present a very interesting and riveting story that holds your attention in the slow moments. I particularly like the way Angels are portrayed in this film. These are not the white winged saviors most people expect, but somewhat bitter beings who are tired of playing second fiddle to the failing project that is humanity. One aspect I really love is how, much like birds, they tend to perch when seated. It is a clever visual that makes them so very nonhuman with little to no special effect work needed.
Everyone in the film, from Elias Koteas to Virginia Madsen, dial in their rolls perfectly, giving a solid performance to something that had to look strange as heck on paper. It is Christopher Walken, however that really steals the show in this film as the Angel Gabriel. Director Gregory Widen utilized Walken’s wonderfully odd nature to the benefit of the film allowing the veteran actor the freedom to make this character his own in every scene. Throughout the film he charges across the Earth referring to humans as talking monkeys and providing a genuinely creepy incarnation of Gabriel that you will not forget.
While he has a very small yet important role, I was also impressed with Viggo Mortensen in the role of Lucifer. Well before his role in Lord of the Rings, we get a chance to see the future Aragorn in a role that really showcases his immense talent. It was this film that caused me to take notice of this actor and made me want to see everything he was in from that day forward. His portrayal of Lucifer is perhaps the finest in any film before or since. I only wish he got a little more screen time, but what he does with the time he has is nothing short of perfection.
Overall, this is one of those hidden gems of the 90’s that, should you have a chance to watch it, you would not be wasting your time. Exploring faith and what it means to truly believe in something, it is a great tale that utilizes the multilayered mythologies of Christianity presenting it’s own interpretation that really deserved a deeper exploration. Even though they are not quite as strong, thankfully, we were given four additional sequels two of which feature Walken himself. Honestly, I almost wish we could get a modern television series based in this universe.
OK, where do I get this movie?
You can actually get the entire movie series in a Blue Ray set for around $15 here. It’s also available in digital format from just about every place digital films are sold. I highly recommend picking it up if you enjoy dark and clever films from the 90’s.
As usual, here is the trailer.
Late To The Game 1/9/2020
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