[MOVIE REVIEW]Haunted Strangers in the Night

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[MOVIE REVIEW]Haunted Strangers in the Night

When two people who have shut themselves off from the world find each other, they usually don't have a clue what to do next.

In "Angel Eyes," Jennifer Lopez plays Sharon Pogue, a tough Chicago cop with a particularly traumatic upbringing. Pogue is determined to make the world a better place. Along the way she is noticed by the neighborhood weirdo, Catch (Jim Caviezel), a man who aimlessly wanders the streets in a black trenchcoat.

Fans of Lopez won't be disappointed by her form in this movie; even in a bulletproof vest and police uniform, she's shapely. But if an acting award were merited here, it would go to Caviezel, who had a similar role in "Pay it Forward." Caviezel has the lost-soul-peering-out-of-sad-eyes look down.

As Catch, he is a mystery man haunted by memories that come back to him in fragments. He wanders about performing altruistic deeds. It seems he is trying to rebuild his life from scratch.

The movie has the eerie atmospheric build-up of "The Sixth Sense," but "Angel Eyes" veers into a love story between two people who have checked in with far over the carry-on baggage limit.

Early on we see Pogue called to an accident scene. She stares into the burnt wreckage of a car and its gruesome contents. The experience hardens her, and a year later she has sloughed off all signs of sweetness and taken on major attitude and brawn to match. A simple conversation with her resembles a vicious interrogation.

Pogue, it turns out, was emotionally scarred as a child when she witnessed her father beating her mother. She called the police on him, and the family thanked her by ostracizing her. From then on, Pogue built the emotional wall higher, excluding even her police partner.

The big moment comes when Pogue stumbles into an ambush and Catch is there to save her. The two fall in love, but realize they have to duel with their demons and tear down their respective walls.

Lopez's character is honest and unglorified, but the development, especially of Caviezel's character, is choppy and superficial. There are a couple of moving moments, like when Lopez videotapes a message for her father.

"Angel Eyes" is not an intellectual drama, but the formula works: a beautiful woman suffering inner turmoil. If sentimental movies tug you, bring extra tissues.

by Joe Yong-hee

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