Although Sharon Pogue, the central character in this film, is a Chicago police officer with a beat in one of the city's roughest districts, this is not a traditional 'tough cop' thriller. Rather, it is the story of a romance between Sharon and a mysterious stranger named Catch, which begins when he saves her life while she is confronting a violent criminal. Catch is a strange figure who lives alone in a deserted building and who wanders the streets performing acts of kindness to strangers. Sharon finds herself emotionally drawn to this baffling young man, who appears simple-minded but gentle, fey and vulnerable yet nonthreatening, and the two begin a romantic relationship.
As the film progresses, we realize that Catch had a previous life very different to the one he leads now. We learn, for instance, that his real name is Steven Lambert and that he is a talented jazz musician. There are also hints of a secret in his past which has left him with an overwhelming sense of guilt; we eventually learn what that secret is, although I will not reveal it here. Sharon also has psychological problems arising from her difficult relationship with her family, particularly with her abusive father, which started when she reported him to the police because of his violent behaviour towards her mother.
The main themes of the film are the need for forgiveness- of oneself as well as of others- reconciliation and redemption. We see how Sharon and Catch deal with the shadows of the past which are threatening to destroy their chances of happiness. Unlike some, I did not see Catch as a Christ-figure (possibly those who did were influenced by the fact that the same actor, Jim Caviezel, also played Jesus in Mel Gibson's recent 'The Passion of the Christ') or the film as an overtly religious one. The themes of forgiveness and redemption are capable of being understood in a secular way as well as a religious one. It is, however, possibly a spiritual film, and certainly a poetic one. Certain scenes- such as the one where Catch and Sharon realize their love for one another while swimming in a disused quarry and the one in the nightclub where Catch rediscovers his love of jazz- struck me as having a particularly haunting quality.
I was also impressed by the two leading actors. This was the first of Caviezel's films that I had seen, other than 'The Passion', and I was touched by his portrayal of the lonely, guilt-ridden but kindly Catch. As for Jennifer Lopez, I was pleasantly surprised. On the previous occasions I had seen her in films- such as the truly appalling 'Anaconda'- she struck me as being not so much an actress, more a singer who had wandered into the movie business because someone - probably her accountant- had told her it would be a good career move, without her having much idea of what would be required of her. In 'Angel Eyes', however, it seems that, by and large, J-Lo has at last realized what this acting thing is all about. Although some of her lines are occasionally indistinct, the overall impression is one of emotional and psychological truthfulness. That, in fact, can be taken as my overall impression of the film as a whole, not just Miss Lopez's performance. 7/10
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