“Angel’s Melancholy” is the artsy torture trash your parents warned you about. There’s a right way to make hardcore horror, and this movie is a crash course in exactly how not to do it. Save for a dense atmosphere and some pretty shots, “Angel’s Melancholy” is garbage of the highest degree.
There’s no story in it, either. Two morally bankrupt layabouts, Brauth (Zenza Raggi, “Scent of Pleasure”) and Katze (Frank Oliver), invite some people to their cabin, wherein they philosophize in between doing horrible things to each other. If there was anything beyond that, which there isn’t, this reviewer would be more than happy to bring it up. In fact, some kind of context would be a relief, but this is not a movie prone to relief.
It’s an endurance test in the way sticking your face into a fire is an endurance test: it will hurt all the time, it’s just a matter of how much you enjoy the pain. So imagine sticking your face into a fire and keeping it there for three hours. That is, more-or-less, the experience of watching “Angel’s Melancholy.”
There’s no sense of continuity or purpose, no characters or plot, no interest and no connection. Does it matter that one character has a colostomy bag? Sure. If only because they’re going to suffer pain and humiliation because of it. The movie is infused with a pretentious spirit, all grounded in an uncomfortably sexual fascination with death and dying.
Director Dora doesn’t simply observe the indignities, he shoves the viewer inside of them, forcing them to revel in remarkably boring violence. It’s nihilist to a fault. As a result, the movie comes off as weirdly personal: a manifesto? Memoir? Thesis? Any one option would be just as troubling as the next.
Whatever it is, it sucks. What’s clear is that the movie is aiming for some sort of cosmic depth. Questions like what it means to be a person, what is the nature of desire, and what purpose does faith serve pervade “Angel’s Melancholy,” but if the answers are as uninteresting as this movie makes them out to be, then maybe life really is just a boring and unendurable mess.
There are redeeming qualities, however. The cinematography is decent and the atmosphere is all grime and dirt, but in the end it doesn’t matter. To list all the movie does wrong would take volumes, so this reviewer will just say this: Stay away, stay far away.