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Devil in a Blue Dress
Private detective Easy Rawlins has been caught on the wrong side of the most dangerous secret in town.
In late 1940s Los Angeles, Easy Rawlins is an unemployed black World War II veteran with few job prospects. At a bar, Easy meets DeWitt Albright, a mysterious white man looking for someone to investigate the disappearance of a missing white woman named Daphne Monet, who he suspects is hiding out in one of the city's black jazz clubs. Strapped for money and facing house payments, Easy takes the job, but soon finds himself in over his head.
The more I see this film, the more I like it. We watch Denzel's Eazy Rawlins become a pretty good detective out of necessity and then out of anger for being patronized and stepped on one time too many, especially since it's L.A. circa 1948. A simple missing girl case keeps twisting and turning, dropping dangerous clues and some bodies along the way. Tom Sizemore and Denzel are fine but it's Don Cheadle's Mouse the one that steals it effortlessly. The best sidekick ever! Director Carl Franklin has such a realistic way filming violence that makes it both ugly and exciting to watch at the same time.
An always-charismatic Denzel Washington performance drives "Devil in a Blue Dress," a noir that's slightly convoluted at points, but remains slick, entertaining, and darkly funny throughout.
Holy hell, Mouse deserves a movie all his own. Dayum, son!
On the whole, a different type of noir story that is typically glanced over as less than a subplot (LA Confidential). While not Denzel's best work of the 90s, it is certainly worth the watch for Don Cheadle's scene-stealing turn as Denzel's hoodlum compadre. Sorta like if The Big Sleep was made in Harlem instead of Beverly Hills.
Perhaps the best thing about this movie is that Denzel Washington's Easy Rawlins is no private eye. Not at first, at least. Nah, it takes him a while to get there, and by the time he does, you know he was born for the job.
Getting Denzel to play a hardboiled detective in a film noir is a stroke of genius and I wonder why nobody else decided to make the Easy Rawlins franchise a reality. Add in a few movie spinoffs of Don Cheadle as Mouse and we're pretty much set for life.
While Denzel's Easy looks the part of a moody private dick, he's still just as normal as the next guy. Even if he's been played for…
Screenwriters take note! The introduction of Mouse comes at the PRECISELY RIGHT TIME to kick the film into high gear for it's final act. The film's methodical pace slowly builds the tension as a house of cards, and then Don Cheadle is like someone placing a fan in front of it and hovering their finger above the ON switch.
This movie is fantastic. B+
Carl Franklin's Devil in a Blue Dress is a superb neo-noir, that maximises its period setting, socio-economic backdrop and pitch perfect performances to be one of the best crime movies of the 1990s.
I have read a number of the Walter Mosley Easy Rawlins novels and this adaptation really captures the spirit, with Denzel Washington absolutely inhabiting the contradictions of the main character. Never has an actor been better suited to playing a character called Easy. Washington has such ease in front the camera. This is one of his signature performances, the only shame in it is that we do not have more Rawlins films starring Washington. They should have made them every few years and aged the character with…
Ex-G.I. "Easy" Rawlins (Denzel Washington) who has lost his job is worried about paying bills and making house payments (he is already two months behind). Things look up when DeWitt Albright (Tom Sizemore) hires him to track down Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals), a white woman who was last seen in the "negro" part of town, a place he could never enter and get information on her whereabouts. "Easy" takes the job and begins his search; before long he is involved in murder, beaten by police during an interrogation, frequently knocked unconscious, and ends his quest involved in a gunfight resulting in several deaths. Director Carl (ONE FALSE MOVE) Franklin, who is now spending his time doing television series work, does…
What I take from this movie is Denzel Washington moving around town, the same locations, talking to the same people over and over again.
(Original review outdated, re-evaluation required at later date)
"You just said don't shoot him, right?"
"Well I didn't. I choked him."
"Look, if you ain't want him killed, why'd you leave him with me?"
Sometimes a great character can get stuck in a mediocre movie. One of those is Mouse, played by Don Cheadle. The movie doesn't even know what it has --it lets him leave!
That said, I would love another Easy Rawlins story, with Denzel aged twenty years. That would bring Los Angeles to the mid-1960s and the Watts riots. Timely stuff, just sayin'.
Carl Franklin's neo-noir is subtle, bold, and one of the best films of the 1990s. Full review: cinemachase.net/review-devil-in-a-blue-dress/
A black WWII vet is hired to find a woman entwined in a murderous political scandal. I'm been waiting to see this for a long time, and it's every bit as good as I expected. I'm not sure how it took Hollywood so long to cast Denzel Washington in a neo noir thriller, but I'm glad it came about so well. Washington's brilliant characterization of Easy Rawlins relies heavily on the fact that the character doesn't become a private dick out of his own brooding, cynical, postwar hatred for man but rather from necessity and to keep his family financially stable. Even more impressive in a darkly comic supporting role is Don Cheadle as the trigger-happy Mouse. He's a total riot.
All the neo-noir elements fall into place well here, and this is a film that should really replace "The Shawshank Redemption" or "Mission: Impossible" as a movie that should be a cable favorite.
Sadly I forgot to review or rate this when I watched it.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
To me, Denzel Washington is one of those dudes who seemingly arrived in the world a fully fledged movie star. In my movie watching lifetime, he’s always just been there and he’s always been awesome. So it’s odd to think there was a once a time when he was up and coming, making his bones and still scratching around for that first lead role, that first big break out.
His first opportunity came with Spike Lee’s Malcolm X in 1992. But that was some prestige, award baiting stuff. He followed it up the following year, co-starring with Tom Hanks in Philadelphia. But in 1995, Denzel the Movie Star burst onto the scene with couple of big ass, big budget, big spectacle blockbusters. He hit with Crimson Tide and he missed with Virtuosity. He also took on something a little more interesting, with the noir-tastic Devil in a Blue Dress.
A well made and quite entertaining example of contemporary noir, still set within the classic time period of classic noir, the 40s. Denzel Washington plays Easy Rawlins, a working class man with a somewhat shady past in Texas, and a bitter war experience, who finds himself embroiled in a classic hard boiled mystery.
This is riddled with many of the tropes of noir but is told through the perspective of an African American character and the community that he is part of. At times it reminded me of the brutal, lurid pulp fiction of Chester Himes (A Rage in Harlem, Cotton Comes to Harlem etc.), with a great cast of lowlifes and hustlers, with particularly great performances from Don Cheadle as Rawlins' trigger happy Texan pal, and Tom Sizemore in slimy, mid 90s Sizemore mode.
Definitely worth a watch if you enjoy fun, well made homage to film-noir.
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