Fallen

Maybe the devil made Denzel Washington and John Goodman do this loony movie about Satan and serial killers. Maybe you'll watch this flick on video some night with a buzz on and feel more forgiving. But pay full price for this puppy at the multiplex and odds are you'll be royally pissed off.

What's with a script – by Nicholas Kazan, yet, who did Reversal of Fortune – that asks us to believe that a sharp homicide detective, John Hobbes (Washington), is being chased by a demon who flew out of the body of a serial killer named Reese (Elias Koteas) at the moment Reese was executed by the state? Hobbes doesn't find many sympathetic ears. His partner, Jonesy (Goodman), tries to be a friend, but Lieutenant Stanton (Donald Sutherland) is not a guy for the supernatural, even after a spate of copycat murders.

Only babe theologian Gretta Milano (Embeth Davidtz) knows that Hobbes hasn't merely overdosed on watching Seven and The Exorcist. Say this for Fallen: Gregory Hoblit (Primal Fear) directs this claptrap in high style. In one hypnotic scene, Hobbes walks the streets of an unnamed city (it's Philadelphia) as the demon flits from person to person in an effort to torment him. A school kid flashes an evil look. A homeless man sings a bit of Reese's favorite song. A shy professor pulls a gun on Hobbes and opens fire. Then, just as quickly, the devil is off to a new human host. Ever had a day where you think the whole world is against you? Fallen Gregory Hobit (Primal Fear) directs this claptrap in high style. In one hypnotic scene, Hobbes walks the streets of an unnamed city (it's Philadelphia) as the demon flits from person person to person in an effort to torment him. A school kid flashes an evil look. A homeless man sings a bit of Reese's favorite song. A shy professor pulls a gun on Hobbes and opens fire. Then, just as quickly, the devil is off to a new human host. Ever had a day where you think the whole world is against you? Fallen has an explanation. Credit Washington and Goodman for playing this twisted nonsense with the straightest of faces. I couldn't stop giggling; then the guy next to me giggled, and so on, Hmm. Maybe Fallen really is the devil's work.

From The Archives Issue 779: February 5, 1998
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