Sunday, 29 September 2013

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1987: Robert De Niro in Angel Heart

Robert De Niro did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Louis Cyphre in Angel Heart.

Angel Heart is an effective thriller about a private eye Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) given the fairly simple task of finding a man, although there is not anything simple about the task.

Robert De Niro plays the man who hires Harry to find the elusive Johnny Favourite. It is obvious from his appearance though that he is not just a run of the mill sort rather something far more sinister, a 70's era Martin Scorsese, which means the most frightening creature of all, the devil. This really is not something hidden in anyway instead it is abundantly obvious right down to his name, his ring and his long finger nails which he uses to tear apart open the shell of an egg which Cyphre does not mind explaining that the egg often is used to represent the soul.

With the way Louis Cyphre is set up as a character De Niro doesn't mind playing the part of the devil in a rather blunt manner. De Niro plays off the fact that Cyphre obviously is the devil by giving the right type of knowing style of a performance. De Niro does not play it as knowing toward the audience but rather knowing in terms of what Cyphre knows. De Niro always has an off putting assurance in his performance that establishes well the fact that Cyphre clearly knows more then he is letting toward Angel, and that in every twist and turn that Cyphre knows exactly why they are occurring even if he won't let on.

De Niro actually has a few scenes but he is a strong highlight of the film through his simple but very effective portrayal of Cyphre. De Niro makes Cyphre basically the fate of the film. His devil is the ultimate manipulator who doesn't only move the chess pieces but own the chess board the whole time. De Niro's performance has the intelligence of the all knowing beast in it. De Niro instead of going really big in the role is very terrifying by staying so very chilling through just how relaxed Cyphre is during every single dark turn in the film which Cyphre knows will happen when he wants it to happen.

Every single movement and physical gesture that he gives are striking and captivating in both their oddness but as well in the way in which they creation the demonic puppet master. De Niro in every  one of his appearances builds the grim atmosphere that overpowers film. When De Niro finally unleashes the true devil it has a truly fierce some quality and works particularly well because De Niro crafted in such an eerie fashion to begin with. In his few scene De Niro realizes the devil in this world and when his eyes glow a most unnatural quality, De Niro has made only a natural transition.

 De Niro is listed in credits as giving a special appearance in the film. This is probably the perfect description for his role in the film. De Niro does not have a lot of screen time, but he makes a tremendous impact with each and everyone of his scenes. Louise Cyphre is actually far more difficult role then it might seem as the way he dresses and the way he looks could easily have illicit the wrong kind of laughter. De Niro is in top form though making a vivid depiction of the prince darkness and giving a very compelling performance where De Niro unassumingly controls the entire film without really even seeming like he's trying to.


koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

This movie had more influence than I thought. Specifically, the Megami Tensei video games LOVE the pun "Louis Cypher" and name an obviously evil character that in every single game in the series. Most have direct references to this movie.

Anonymous said...

Can you please do 78 or 95 soon?

Michael Patison said...

His name probably says more about him being the devil than any part of his appearance. I mean, Louis Cyphre is an obvious reference to Lucifer, Satan's name before he descended into hell.

Louis Morgan said...

Yes I know, I just decided not to repeat exactly what Mickey Rourke's character says at the end of the film.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous: I'll try to get those years sooner rather then later.

Michael Patison said...

Oh oops. Sorry. I've never seen it, so I had no idea. I hope I didn't ruin any part of the movie, though, from your description of De Niro's character, it doesn't seem like I did.