Fallen (1998)

Denzel Washington stars in this run-of-the-mill religious thriller,
as a Philly police detective stalked by the spirit of a serial 
killer that he once put away and who was only recently executed.  
The catch?  Well, there are a couple:  Casper the Unfriendly Ghost 
can occupy almost any ol' human host *and* he can pass himself from 
one person to the next, simply by touch.  Now, although our hero 
doesn't catch on for at least an hour, *we* are shown the whole 
possession process from the get-go.  And that's a grave mistake, 
'cause it leaves the story with nowhere else to go.  A better 
script, I suppose, would kick right into overdrive, aiming for the 
sort of over-the-top territory that THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE did so 
well.  Or, maybe, it would go in the other direction, descending 
into, say, a clever character study or detailed police procedural.  
Alas, what Nicholas Kazan's screenplay *does* do is just schlep 
along, with a little bit of mystery here, a little bit of suspense 
there, and a whole lot of missed opportunities everywhere else.  
Though well-acted and handsomely produced, FALLEN fails in the most 
fundamental of ways:  it doesn't compel you to keep watching.  (Mom 
and I left after an hour.)  With Donald Sutherland, James Gandol-
fini, Embeth Davidtz, Elias Koteas, and looking dangerously close 
to a coronary, John Goodman.  Directed by Gregory Hoblit (PRIMAL 
FEAR).  (Rated "R"/123 min.)

Grade: W/O

Copyright 1998 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: January 28, 1998

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