Cinophile – The Prophecy

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It might seem easy to typecast Christopher Walken, but it isn”t. Though he has done his share of crime bosses (like the notorious Frank White), Walken is best when he”s that right-hand man that overshadows the boss. Like the bow-tie killer in Last Man Standing or the bone-chilling “antichrist” in True Romance. Or as the archangel Gabriel…

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Virginia Madsen jumped on the chance to work on The Prophecy, purely as an opportunity to work with Christopher Walken. They were going to work together on an earlier project, but financing for that fell through. Walken spent most of the shoot eating raw garlic – some speculate it was a way to make his character naturally repulsive, though Walken might have been doing it for health reasons.

Indeed, Click was not Walken”s first foray into a heavenly role. In the early Nineties he stepped into the shoes of an angel. But you don”t want to be touched by these guys. They are disgruntled, unforgiving and pretty mean. They also pack a punch, so best not get in their way. Alas, two mere mortals have to do just that when angel Eric Stoltz abducts a corrupt soul and hides it from the dark intentions of Gabriel.

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This is the only feature film directed by Gregory Widen and his only other directing job was an episode of Tales from the Crypt. But Widen is better known as the scribe behind the scripts for Backdraft and Highlander, the latter sold when he was still a film student.

There is more to The Prophecy than Walken”s menacing harbinger of death. It is one of the best films in this ill-populated genre. The angels evoke images of crows and display nuanced mannerisms that cement their otherworldliness. Yet it doesn”t rub your face in it: in fact, you never really see an angel with its wings. That is left for the third film, but it is best to believe this series only produced one film

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Critics were not all that hot on The Prophecy, but it still enjoyed modest success by earning back double of its $8 million budget. The franchise would grow to a total of five movies, though Christopher Walken only appeared in the first three.

The Prophecy gives a fresh and broad new approach to the world of angels. It is a pity the franchise went downhill from here and it is tempting to want a remake or a sequel that ignores the second and third films. But rather not go there – the original is perfect enough. And it boasts a surprising casting for the role of Lucifer. The devil is in this? Of course – it”s about angels. Where else would he be?

Cinophile is a weekly feature showcasing films that are strange, brilliant, bizarre and explains why we love the movies.

Last Updated: May 27, 2013

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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