1991, R, 94 min. Directed by Michael Fields. Starring Dermot Mulroney, Lili Taylor, Valerie Perrine, Sam Shepard, Sheila Mccarthy, Burt Young.
REVIEWED By Kathleen Maher, Fri., July 26, 1991
Someone, it seems, has been watchin too many '70s road pictures and reading Jim Thompson novels way too late at night. Bright Angel is set just north of Starkweather territory in the long, empty spaces of Montana and Wyoming. First, we see young Mulroney and his father Shepard hunting ducks. Next we see Shepard throwing his wife out of the house for fooling around one too many times, and then we see Mulroney climb into his car with trouble -- a trashy young Taylor on a very dubious mission. She's off to help her “brother” in jail in Casper, Wyoming. Clearly, no good can come of this; everyone has a gun. And, just as in a Thompson novel, most of these people aren't very nice. There is fascination here in the long views and in the many doorways Mulroney and Taylor wander through only to find one more bizarre story told by an impressive and thoroughly loony collection of supporting characters. Unfortunately, there's not much of a whole story here. It's an intricate collage without a frame. Taylor, a hypnotic screen presence visually is, otherwise, a pain in the ass with constant wisecracks delivered as if she's imitating Christian Slater imitating Jack Nicholson and adding a Canadian accent for good measure. She's been better in Mystic Pizza and in Say Anything. Mulroney, on the other hand, may be just another pretty face, because he usually just stands around with his hands in his pockets. One thing for sure, all of these people are capable of better work, wait for it.