It's a Wrap

Austin Film Festival 2002 reviews

Angels Crest

W/D: J. Michael Couto; Christopher Bauer, Currie Graham.

Competition Film

It seems like a regular Monday morning as two friends share a ride to work in writer/director Michael Couto's Angels Crest. Christopher Bauer (of television's Third Watch) plays a heavyset human resources geek named Teddy whom, when he utters the first line of the movie, "Nice buns," is talking to his bakery box. Teddy sees his pal Richard (Graham) at the bus stop and picks him up. Teddy tells Richard he wants to pull off the road halfway up a mountain pass to "check out a great view"; the two men tromp along in the woods for a while, sharing a pee, basking in the sunshine, bonding. But just as Richard exclaims, "I'm glad you brought me out here!" Teddy whacks Richard in the back of the head with a shovel, and the movie explodes. Angels Crest is fairly straightforward, even dull, until that shovel-whack. But then it begins to jump forward and backward in time. As Teddy explains to Richard why he has tied him to a tree and Richard tries to save his own life with words, Teddy increases the tension by re-examining previous conversations, then flashing forward to later events in the movie. Like Memento, Angels Crest loops back upon its own storyline, giving the moviegoer more information with each re-viewing. Suddenly the dull events earlier in the day are heavy with meaning. The acting is competent, though the dialogue is wooden at times. And although the end of the film left me disappointed, Couto is clearly a writer in command of his material. For anyone interested in structure, storyline, and a reason to be scared to death by the line, "Human resources knows everything," Angels Crest is a winner.

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