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Converging with Angels (2002) star star

Reviewed 2001-08-25
: I was invited to a pre-release screening. Converging With Angels is a low-budget, independent film shot in Chicago in accordance with a formula known as "Dogma 95" that attempts to return film creation to a more authentic form by adhering to certain rules (explained at the link). The story is about a world-weary sex worker, Dylan (Robert Tobin), who takes in Allison (Melissa Muniz), a drunk and fragile woman he finds on the street. They think they can redeem each other. All the while, Dylan tries to distance himself from his boss, Luci (Lisa Hunter) and Allison from her ex-boyfriend. But the past holds them tenaciously.

The narrative ends abruptly, the way so many foreign films do. It really annoys me when that happens, because even at 170 minutes I felt like there was more story to tell. But the editing was excellent and so was the acting -- especially from Muniz, who reveals a splendid combination of vulnerability and strength, along with a pleasing screen presence and physical attractiveness. She is an actress with potential. The rest of the cast, particularly Hunter, register strong onscreen personas, as well. The capable direction, by Michael Sorenson, kept the story (by Alija Sighvatsson and Michael Sorenson) from sagging in its long telling.

I'm a bit skeptical of Dogma 95, myself. The Danish paradigm commands what might be called a more natural look to a film, but what I saw were wildly variable exposures -- some scenes over-lighted, some under-lighted. I rarely notice the music in most films, but when it isn't there I notice: yet in scenes where I thought music would have been appropriate, Dogma 95 prohibits "added" music. The film was shot digitally, yet one of the distracting things about that is the graininess of that medium. On the plus side, I don't think adhering to Dogma 95 restrictions in any way hampered the final effect of the film. Converging With Angels is set for release in 2002, and the IMDb shows that it had been edited down to 162 minutes from the version I saw. I think it is worth seeing.

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Ronald Bruce Meyer is a freelance reviewer.