I just watched Angels Falls this weekend. I thought it was a terrible movie - watchable but just not good. I'm sure the book was way better as NR is a fantastic writer, but I did not really get drawn into sympathy with Heather Locklear's character. I think some of that was her performance. I can't criticize it technically. She obviously followed the script and her direction, but there was a depth of feeling missing. I knew she was traumatized because she turned her head a lot and I was told - over and over again - that she was, she even had some facial expressions that carefully didn't line her beautiful face, but there was no depth of emotion in her being or her eyes. Her grooming was also an issue. She always looked perfectly groomed, not like someone who had been on the run for a year in her car. I laughed out loud when the other character told her she needed a day of beauty because she looked haggard - she didn't - not even when she was sleeping in the tub!! JS, the lead actor, was also pretty good, but he too seemed stiff and mechanical in going through his part. I know he was supposed to be into the lead character, but he was not directed well enough or didn't act well enough to pull off his dual duty as a suspect and catalyst for the mystery. He was just a pretty face.
In fact, all of the characters, except for the doctor, the sheriff and the Lothario son seemed like people reciting lines rather than real to the story. Especially the young blond waitress who actually looked like an actress waiting tables trying to be noticed by a casting agent, except she's supposed to be a country girl wanting to marry a local boy and not in LA. She also didn't deliver any of her lines appropriately.
I also had issue with the lighting sometimes. It seemed too dark. The sets, also, seemed to, well, clean and pristine to be realistic. Picking tacky colors does not by itself make for authenticity. Neither does telling me that the place needs a paint job when it doesn't particularly look like it. I don't know why they kept mentioning that, it didn't enhance the later need to actually paint the walls - without telling the cops necessary evidence.
The script was another problem here. Nora Roberts is a poet. Her writing is amazing and her characters vivid and compelling. The stories are also carefully crafted. I'm sure the book itself works well as a mystery. Here, the story was obviously edited to fit the format and the running time. As a result, I felt the story was choppy and lacking in depth. Some of the things that could have been startling were too abrupt and some of the facts were shoved down our throats in an unconvincing way and didn't add anything to the story. For instance, that the blond waitress wanted the Lothario added nothing to the mystery and it's constant repetition didn't work to make me really believe or care. I only knew they wanted each other because the mother kept whinging on about it while talking about her son's sex life (ewwww, meanwhile, the actors barely bothered to keep up the pretense, and, like I said, it didn't add anything to the mystery because it was the mother who fought back, badly, against her son being a suspect and not the waitress - who could have done a good job at that since she was befriending Heather's character.
Given how wonderful Nora's writing is, this was a big disappointment.
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