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Devil in a Blue Dress
In a world divided by black and white, Easy Rawlins is about to cross the line.
It is 1948 in LA. Ezikeal "Easy" Rawlins is an African-American World War II veteran that is hired to find a woman and gets mixed up in a murderous political scandal.
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.
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…
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.
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+
I've reviewed this film before and I've knocked it down a half star in a new review. Why? Because the first time I watched it I was engaged yet I felt like everyone was going through the motions at times. I gave it the benefit of the doubt. On my rewatch i am confident that there is a lot of going through the motions. I really like Carl Franklin, especially after hearing his audio commentaries for House of Cards, but this just seems like an uninspired script, that takes from a lot of noirs, especially Chinatown.
With all that said, it's a good movie. I am engaged throughout viewing, much help to Denzel & even not help from Don Cheadle who…
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.
A badass, racially conscious noir for the modern era (even if it is set in 1948). Also, Don Cheadle absolutely kills in this.
Denzel Washington vehicle, a 1940's noir that is a thematic mess, it doesn't know if it wants to be a movie about race relations, friendship, a character study, or something else entirely. Instead it tries to do all of it at once and fails miserably in execution. Denzel is competent, and the movie seems to hit the marks in the beginning, Denzel is competent yet not outstanding, his narration hits the marks and attempt to hold the movie together. Don Cheadle shines on the screen as he eats the 1940's scenery and comes alive as his very bombastic character. It definitely has style in the set design and making the 1940's come alive, yet the movie as a whole doesn't really take advantage of the production put together. It leaves it relatively unmemorable in writing, in story, in plot, and in character.
In 1948 L.A., an unemployed factory worker is hired to locate the missing girlfriend of a local politico. Stylish private-eye drama is saddled with a predictable, plain-jane mystery that never really gets off the ground in spite of good work by Washington. Disappointing big-time debut for talented writer-director Franklin (One False Move); based on the first in Mosley’s popular series of novels featuring “detective” Easy Rawlins.
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…
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