When police officer Xavier Quinn's childhood friend, Maubee, becomes associated with murder and a briefcase full of ten thousand dollar bills, The Mighty Quinn must clear his name. Or try to catch him, which could be even trickier.
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, Daphne Monet, happens to be the fiancée of a wealthy "blue blood," Todd Carter, who is currently the favorite in the city's mayoralty race. Daphne 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Carl Franklin appeared with Denzel Washington in Out of Time (2003). See more »
The scene after Easy and Daphne are in McGee's house (where they find his body), Easy pulls into his driveway and gets out of the car. He looks left to see a gray convertible on the street. When he comes to his front door, the view changes and you see the same car with a (hard) top, over Easy's left shoulder. After the people in the house leave, the car is once again a convertible. Clearly they used two identical cars in this scene. One convertible, one not. See more »
It was summer 1948, and I needed money. After goin' door-to-door all day long, I was back again at Joppy's bar trying to figure out where I was gonna go looking for work the next day. The newspapers was goin' on and on about the city elections - like they was really gonna change somebody's life. But my life had already changed when I lost my job three weeks before.
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This has a convoluted story like out of Chandler. There's the dreamy woman who has disappeared, the unlikely schmo hired to find her. She is white, a rich man's wife thought to have disappeared in the black side of town. They get him to investigate, a black guy who just wants to make mortgage so he can simply keep owning his house.
A lot of snooping around in clubs and seamy places around LA follows. People turning up dead in the night and he stands to get the rap. Hidden machinations that involve people in high places, a set of incriminating photos with a mayoral election in the balance. And all this as the noir world that turns against the protagonist - he's beaten, framed for murder, used as pawn - but, being a black man, it now acquires another layer of significance that conveys a more real plight than Marlowe.
And we have a curious eye of the camera, a world rife with texture and depth. This isn't the glossy recreation of an era that we find in LA Confidential, but more like Altman where we brush against spaces and the world surrounds from all sides. In this aspect it's worthy of The Long Goodbye. It has all these marvelous places, the blues club above the convenience store, the cabin up in the hills where a dead body turns up, his sunny neighborhood that is routinely invaded.
It's as good as if adapted from Chandler, plus about black experience in a world where boundaries are drawn starkly against you, plus a world rife for exploration as these boundaries are tranversed. It's good stuff, this one. They tried to set it up for future films where Denzel returns as the PI but I see that it didn't pan out. First time's the charm anyway.
Noir Meter: 3/4 / Neo-noir or post noir? Neo
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