Lopez plays Officer Sharon Pogue a tough cop who lives primarily for her job. She arrives one day on the scene of a horrific accident to find a woman and a young boy dead inside a smashed-up car. She tries to keep the remaining occupant alive until help arrives. One year later Sharon is still single but now estranged from her family because of a domestic-abuse issue. While trying to nab a criminal her life is saved by a mysterious stranger Catch (Jim Caviezel). The two are drawn to each other inexplicably and embark on a strange relationship. Catch can't tell Sharon much about himself beyond that he likes to walk and can play the trumpet. But things are slowly revealed about the car accident the year before and they discover the truth behind their connection. Somehow Sharon and Catch both have to come to terms with their old wounds and learn how to help heal each other.
Jennifer Lopez needs a really good director to bring out the best in her. She is serviceable in this role and can actually pull off the tough girl act fairly succinctly. But unlike another tough girl she played in Out of Sight the layers of her character are not as fully developed in Angel Eyes. There also is no chemistry between Lopez and Caviezel (but we remember quite well the sizzle she had with Sight costar George Clooney). Caviezel has perfected the lost brooding persona he's exhibited in such films as The Thin Red Line and Pay It Forward and he is incredibly intriguing to watch rising above the material. His scene at the graves of his wife and child is moving and poignant without lapsing into sap. He deserves better. It also is refreshing to see Brazilian actress Sonia Braga once again even if the part of Sharon's scarred mother is small.
Director Luis Mandoki's track record doesn't speak volumes for him having directed such other mediocre romantic dramas as White Palace with Susan Sarandon and James Spader When a Man Loves a Woman with Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia and the real stinker Message in a Bottle with Kevin Costner and Robin Wright. It just seems that his stars never have the necessary passion onscreen that the story dictates. And especially in the case of Angel Eyes the story does not move beyond its TV movie-of-the-week scenario. In fact the marketing behind Eyes leads moviegoers to believe that the film offers a distinctively more mystical point of view. Audiences expecting a better more intriguing take on the City of Angels plot will be sadly disappointed. (Caviezel would make an excellent angel).
Start with hard work a grueling arduous schedule and an industry already famous for fast living. Throw in lots of money and starstruck scantily dressed fans willing to do anything for a few moments with the men of their dreams and ... well you know. But there's more to "Backstage" than cognac bottles green leafy substances and female anatomy. Rappers eat sleep play fight discuss their inner struggles and admit to being moved to tears by "Good Will Hunting." Just don't expect the story of the girl who broke up the band -- the rivalries and conflicts are mostly low-key and a friendly paintball game supplies the only gunplay.
As major players in an image-conscious business the rappers and hip-hop impresarios profiled here do their fair share of posturing; at other times the conversations seem remarkably candid and revealing. Highlights include interviews with Jay-Z Beanie Sigel and DMX with some comic relief as hip-hop wannabes try to impress the touring rappers. Also noteworthy is the film's focus on music magnate Damon Dash and his high-decibel insights into management philosophy intellectual property and brand identity. (He is the producer after all.)
Documentary and music video director Chris Fiore chose to let the subjects of "Backstage" tell the story in their own words. Unlike many of his contemporaries he helped them out by editing miles of celluloid and tape into a well-structured comprehensible narrative. The film starts out loud and fast and keeps up the pace despite a detour into sex and drugs that lasts just a bit too long. Missing for the most part is the view from across the yawning gender gap -- little is heard from female hip-hop artist Amil despite her prominent billing in the credits.