It is 1948 in LA and Ezikeal "Easy" Rawlins, an African-American World War II veteran, is looking for work. At his friend's bar, he is introduced to a white man, DeWitt Albright, who is looking for someone to help him find a missing white woman assumed to be hiding somewhere in LA's Black community. This woman, Daphane Monet, happens to be the fiancée of a wealthy "blue blood," Todd Carter, who is currently the favorite in the city's mayoralty race. Daphane Monet is known to frequent the Black jazz clubs in LA. Easy, innocently, accepts Albright's offer; however, he quickly finds himself amidst murder, crooked cops, ruthless politicians, and brutalizing hoodlums. This is a Chandler-esque "who-done-it" with an African-American theme. Written by
Joel Schesser <email@example.com>
The weapons used by Mouse Alexander (Don Cheadle) are a British Webley Mark VI revolver in .455 caliber and a model 1903 Colt Pocket Hammerless automatic in .32 ACP caliber. At times the Pocket Hammerless is also used by Easy Rawlings (Denzel Washington). See more »
After Easy gets into the car when walking home, the car starts heading in the opposite direction of which Easy was walking. After Easy gets out of the car, he continues walking the same way the car was heading, rather than back to where he came from. See more »
You said don't shoot him, right? Well I didn't; I choked... look, Easy - if you ain't want him dead, why you leave him with me?
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This is the kind of film that can stay with you for awhile after you watch it: a haunting kind of film that isn't always pleasant or easy to understand but you remember it. It also helps to have a fondness for the 1940 film noir movies.
It doesn't help that it appears racist in nature with people of one color all being the bad guys while people with another color all the good guys. I won't say which is which, but if the colors were reversed, there would have been an outcry about the obvious bias here by screenwriter-director Carl Franklin. Despite this, it's still a fascinating movie that just oozes with the 1940s atmosphere. Great narration in there, a la film noir, great automobiles and great sets. It puts you right into the late 40s in Los Angeles, a little bit like the film Chinatown.
Denzel Washington does a nice job with the narration and the lead role, the character of "Easy Rawlins," off the book by Walter Moseley (which I read and recommend). Tom Sizemore and Don Cheadle play very intense characters in supporting roles, particularly Cheadle as the trigger-happy "Mouse." Jennifer Beals is alluring as the mysterious "Daphne Monet."
The film is a bit confusing in parts and was especially so for me since the book was not exactly the same and had a totally different ending. Nonetheless, the film has always fascinated me and drawn me back for multiple viewings. It's good storytelling and it would be fun to see more of Moseley's books translated to the big screen.
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