In this case, context isn’t everything. In fact, it’s the ultimate turn-off.To appreciate Angel Heart’s erotic, intense moment of sweaty intercourse, just enjoy it for its surface-level pleasures. How Lisa Bonet, forcefully shedding her The Cosby Show innocence, commits to the scene with an almost animal-like fury, writhing on that grungy New Orleans hotel bed as if she’s been possessed by the spirit of Linda Lovelace. The ways in which the ‘80s-era Mickey Rourke embodies movie-star masculinity and the kind of sleazy-uncle sexiness that drives middle-aged women crazy. How, despite director Alan Parker’s camera’s presence, and, of course, the edits and musical score, it sort of looks like Rourke and Bonet are actually having sex. It’s that raw and convincing.
So, yeah—avoid delving deeper into what’s actually happening in the scene. How all of the human and chicken blood pouring down from the ceiling symbolizes sacrifice. How, once Angel Heart’s whopper of a twist reveals itself, it’s more of a T&A homicide than sensual interaction. And, yes, how Bonet’s character, Epiphany Proudfoot, is, gasp, the daughter Rourke’s character didn’t know he had. Yeah, forget about all of that and simply bask in the so-hot-it-could-be-real bumping and grinding. —Matt Barone