I haven’t finished writing my July Roundup post yet but, again, I’ve ended up writing a bit too much about a movie to include it in the monthly roundup of “brief” reviews. So here’s a review on its own for the best film that I watched in July…
Wings Of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) (1987)
Directed by Wim Wenders
Starring: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Curt Bois, Peter Falk
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.
I’d been wanting to see this for years so was sooooo happy when it turned up on Film 4 (it’s still available on the All 4 rewatch thingymabob for a couple more weeks, FYI). Not gonna lie: I saw City Of Angels when it came out & really liked it and its interesting idea involving immortal angels who observe us so have since been curious about the original film. I do wonder how City Of Angels has held up – I should rewatch it. But, wow – they really are very different movies. Wings Of Desire is obviously the superior film, of course, and I liked it a lot. I’ll be honest, though – it’s very “arthouse” so is not one for a mainstream movie audience (which is probably why they made City Of Angels as the story itself is good).
I feel bad with films like these as this obviously deserves a really good write-up but I wouldn’t know what to say about it. There will be great articles out there from proper film scholars & shit. I’m only really qualified to write reviews of things like Road House, etc. “A polar bear fell on me.” Hahaha! I love that movie. No one says that in Wings Of Desire & no one gets their throat ripped out. Well, Patrick Swayze’s character Dalton was all into philosophy and the angels in Wings Of Desire spend the whole movie listening to people’s thoughts on the meaning of their own existence & shit so, hey, maybe Road House Dalton isn’t so different from these angels! Apart from the throat ripping.
Yes, this whole movie involves angels listening to people thinking about the meaning of their own lives. Wings Of Desire is way existential (that’s a Clueless quote, FYI). You know, I use that Clueless quote a lot but I think this is the first time I’ve used it within the correct context! Yay, me! So, if you’re having an existential crisis, this may be the movie for you. Or… maybe you should avoid it if you are?! Hmm. Anyway, there are some great memorable & powerful moments (such as in the image above). And I really liked the main characters: Two angels & a mortal trapeze artist (who one of the angels falls in love with – a trapeze artist is more fun than Meg Ryan as a doctor) plus Peter Falk as a movie director/star was fantastic. Didn’t know he was in this! “As you wish“!
Before I finish I really need to mention another brilliant movie, A Matter Of Life And Death, as these two films have so much in common. I think it’s fairly well known in the U.K. but not outside the U.K. for some reason. I take every possible opportunity to recommend it because it’s a fantastic film. My short review is in the above link & here’s the IMDb synopsis if you’re curious: “A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.” Both films also make use of something I really loved visually but don’t want to give it away if you know nothing about either of them (although if you go looking them up online you’ll see what I mean). But if they sound like your type of thing, I’d suggest going into them knowing as little as possible. I’d definitely recommend both of these films but I do prefer A Matter Of Life And Death overall & it’s the one I would suggest watching first of the two. The two together would make for an amazing double feature! Good stuff.
My Rating: 8/10