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Lt. Dave Robicheaux, a detective in New Iberia, Louisiana, is trying to link the murder of a local hooker to New Orleans mobster Julie (Baby Feet) Balboni, who is co-producer of a Civil War film. At the same time, after Elrod Sykes, the star of the film, reports finding another corpse in the Atchafalaya Swamp near the movie set, Robicheaux starts another investigation, believing the corpse to be the remains of a black man who he saw being murdered 35 years before. Written by
Excellently cast; and well-acted, directed, and photographed
There aren't too many movies where you find that each and every actor seems realistic, without overplaying his or her part. I definitely have a bias towards moody, dark Louisiana movies with psychotic killers and corruption. This movie has all the virtues of that genre. Tommy Lee Jones is excellent as a worn-out, aging, alcoholic detective (on the wagon) who has a strong moral sense, but cuts corners when he deems it necessary.
John Goodman is so versatile that I didn't recognize him as the same actor who was in The Big Lebowski which I had watched only the day before. The script was so adept that they handled the issues of race relations in what I considered a realistic manner without any preaching. The settings, whether swamps at night, Southern mansions, broken down shacks, or merely country scenery all seemed highly realistic. The editing was excellent. Thus, the timing of most scenes was just right, so there wasn't the problem of boredom.
The only reason I gave the movie an 8 rather than a 10 is that it suffered from too much mumbled dialogue, so you have to be willing to live with about 25% of dialogue shooting past you (unless perhaps you are from "Loozyana"), and perhaps missing some of the relationships between people early on. However, while this meant that you might miss out on some of the subtleties, the story is not that fast moving and complex that it warrants bypassing the movie, given all its virtues.
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