Engelen (The Angel) doesn't start off making us believe this is a really good movie, but half way through Norwegian filmmaker Margareth Olin takes the grip. You start understanding how heartfelt and realist this really is. Heroin addiction is not understandable to most of us. But the need to cope and to be loved is. Margareth Olin was to make a new documentary, but disagreements with the family of the addict, made her make it into a feature film, realistically and beautifully portrayed by Maria Bonnevie.
We get to know the young addicted woman, as she visits her daughter, completely stoned and disgusting, together with her well-meaning, but sadly helpless mother. Then we are getting behind the tragedy. How could this happen. This is where the explaining tends to be "oh no not another abused childhood-story", but the film doesn't go all the way, though only implicating there could've been something more ruining this young girls life. We get told by the storyteller (Olin herself) that no one really understand where it went wrong. And this is where the film takes itself up to another level, far beyond most of these kind of films.
Olin has impressed once more. Balancing on a 7 or 8 out of 10 is not because of the storytelling or the acting. This is actually superb. The problem is the first part of the movie, not able to engage the way the latter part does. There's an immediate danger you'll give up before you find the good stuff in this bag. Also some clipping is not to my satisfaction. This is maybe a bit too much documentary in the styling. OK, the film has a genuine feel of a documentary, still not being one. Being harsh, realistic, hardly without music in the first part, we find the poetry and some fabulous music. Especially the final theme is so well connected to the ending, that it is almost unbelievable.
It is strange how this movie grows you to jump-start your own heart, even if you really don't want to care. This is the same you feel being approached by a begging addict in the streets. Next time I meet one of this miserable youngsters, I'll be thinking of "Engelen". It gives no real answers to how and why it happened, but an answer we all need to find, is to care about our fellow humans not able to cope with life as it is.
English subtitle included.