Review by James Lindorf
A year ago, Stephen (William McNamara) was a little stressed trying to balance spending time with his family and being a successful cardiothoracic surgeon. Now, he is broken and barely going through the motions. Stephen has decided to embark on a sentimental tour of his most significant locations around Los Angeles. The final stop will be the end of; the tour, the pain, and Stephen’s life. Early on in his commute around the city, he has a chance encounter with a young girl separated from her field trip. Maria (Kaylynn Kubeldis), and her class came down from Santa Monica for the day. If being lost in a strange city isn’t bad enough, Maria also so happens to be blind. Unable to find her class or contact her mother and unwilling to detour too much from his journey, Stephen decides to take Maria along with him. He kept her safe until her mom got off work and kept himself on track to his ultimate goal. “Opus of an Angel” was directed by Ali Zamani (Angels Fallen) and written by Shahram Zargari (Maul Dogs) and Ali Zamani. In the City of Angels, a particular one will do their best to show Stephen his trip down memory lane can have more than one final destination. Stephen goes on what could be his last outing begins on July 28th.
“Opus of an Angel” is the definition of a low budget film, few if any recognizable names or faces, workmanlike cinematography, and artistic licenses that would be denied by major studios. All of this is in an effort to tell a small and very personal story. Life will go one for everyone but a handful of people if Stephen follows through in his plans. The one who would be most affected is Maria because she would still be lost in the city, hoping someone would help her.
The basic premise of “Opus of an Angel” is an odd-couple story. The morose adult who only sees the worst and the precocious upbeat child who imagines beauty all around her. She has 90 minutes to shine her light against his darkness and convince him to see the world differently. In that fundamental way, the film is a resounding success. It is the connective tissue biding the broad stokes together where the movie begins to unravel. Flashbacks are done in darkness, and unexplained ominous looks at the people and things happening around them are two of the distracting elements. Another is the reliance on shots tight on the actors’ faces. Zamani must be a firm believer that the eyes are the windows to the soul. He focuses on them enough; you have to think he wants you to see what’s going on inside the characters’ souls. Bringing that much emotion to their eyes is a big ask for many of the inexperienced actors to take on.
Despite some strange artistic choices and a few pacing problems, “Opus of an Angel” works. The relationship between Stephen and Maria pulls you into the film, and you watch as they grow from strangers to friends. It will never be a movie for the masses. It lacks the polish that the general public is used to, but there will be a small and passionate fanbase.
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