Heaven's Prisoners (1996) Poster

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Kind of complicated, atmospheric crime thriller.
Robert J. Maxwell19 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Nice shots of the bayou under the opening credits. Unspoiled rivers, pristine swamps, oaks draped with Spanish moss. It all looks rather promising. I guess you can still find such subtle but majestic littorals, maybe along route 90 around Houma, but from most highways in southern Louisiana all you see is oily swamp water with derricks planted in it. Beer cans and garbage and, quien sabe?, corpses floating in the murk.

The movie's kind of like that too. The location shooting is just fine. Everyone sweats up a storm in the heat and humidity and it's no wonder that they head for the gin rickeys with all that ice. New Orleans is exposed in all its funkiness. The French Quarter is more or less avoided, but we get to see the lesser neighborhoods, now drowned and empty of human life in the wake of Katrina.

There are the shotgun houses of the poor, the stripper bars playing bluesy music. The streetcars travel not through the Garden District but through ordinary residential streets. Beautiful in its own rotting way, almost phosphorescent with corruption. Outside the city there are bait shops that rent boats and sell tackle. One of these is run by Alec Baldwin, ex cop, recovering alcoholic.

The story isn't very much, when you come right down to it. Hard to follow at times, not really captivating but not absolutely mainstream generic either. Baldwin has a marvelously normal family, including a stolen adopted girl, but is accidentally involved in some shenanigans I couldn't quite follow, something about smuggling, which draws the attention of the mob. Baldwin doesn't seem to actually DO anything that threatens their presence but they surround his house one lightning-filled night and do his loving and courageous wife (Kelly Lynch). The rest of the plot is a revenge story, with Baldwin tracking down the killers one by one.

There are some good action scenes, a chase across the rooftops, a battle on a streetcar. All the action is done in slow motion so you get a chance to savor it -- the crashing crashing cars, the catapulting bodies, the muzzle flashes brilliantly lighting up the interiors of dark houses. PS: Mister Director, can we have a moratorium on slow-motion deaths? It's more than a cliché; it's positively decadent by now. Let's get together and blame Sam Pekinpah, okay?

I thought the conclusion was pretty well done. After his wife is blasted to shreds by shotguns, an attractive young blond -- and old friend -- moves into his house in the woods and provides him with some emotional comfort. They once were quite close.

Now -- see -- Baldwin's wife is gone, and he's got this little Latina girl that he's adopted, but there's a big hole in the nuclear family. (In other words, the guy needs a wife.) A conventional script calls for him to overcome his grief and fall in love with the reassuring and loving blond babe. But no. When he makes clear that he holds his wife's memory sacred, the blond leaves him a note and takes off, realizing he's not ready to get on with his life, as they say. The last scene has Baldwin in his house, gazing affectionately at his sleeping little girl, then falling on his back beside her. Sensing his presence she twists over and puts her arm around his chest, and he places his hand over hers and stares at the ceiling. It is not a cheap shot. It's a brief but genuinely tender scene, encompassing both love and the loss of it.
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Great work by the cast..
Hollywood28 May 2000
Great work by the cast - not so great when it comes to the writing. Heaven's Prisoners lacked a couple of key elements in writing and the film suffered as a result. Once again Kelly Lynch did a fantastic job and made tremendous use of limited screen time. Baldwin wasn't too bad either. This probably ranks as one of his best performances along with The Hunt for Red October. Teri Hatcher was HOT. Overall - Heaven's Prisoners is worth renting - if only to check out the great work by a talented, if not successful, cast.
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I beg to differ
bob_bear29 April 2005
I thought the opening scene was one of the best movie openings I've ever watched - beautifully written and sensitively played.

Drawn in from the outset, I was happy to watch the plot unfold. Yes, it could be argued that the main protagonist brings his troubles upon himself but that is hardly a plot fault - some people do.

Problems with the film? I don't know why an actress of Mary Stuart Masterson's caliber should take on such a nothing role. And the plane crash looked cheap and unconvincing. Otherwise, I have no complaints. I love the books and I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

I have read the previous reviews which seem to be critical for the most part and I am left wondering why they are so. I've watched a lot of rotten films and this certainly isn't one of them. I give it an eight out of ten. I enjoyed it.
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Robicheaux is a character well known to award winning writer James Burke
lacarpool25 July 2007
while this movie does not really capture the flavor of Burkes "prose" it's nice to see recognition of one of fictions better characters. Noticeably missing is the character "Clete Purcell" who was Dave R's former NOPD homicide partner. I see that Tommy Lee Jones will tackle A TV version of another Robicheaux mystery of which 16 Robicheaux novels have been written. Moe action by Baldwin and an interplay between he and the missing Clete Purcell might have brought this movie along further into another feature. New Orleans is always the great mixture of characters and places for mystery, murder and mayhem.

Alex Baldwin does a great job given some of the missing flavor of James Lee Burkes writing. Baldwin made a great looking "Shadow" as well with an unfortunate script.
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Another Pretty Solid Modern 'Noir'
ccthemovieman-129 March 2006
I guess you could call this a "neo-noir," which is a modern-day film noir. It has that atmosphere, especially in New Orleans which seems to always been pictured on the seamy side in films. After the devastation that took place there last year, perhaps filmmakers will kinder to the city in future movies.

Anyway, a seedy New Orleans, some good blues music and five varied-and-all interesting lead characters make this a very watchable movie. Alec Baldwin, Kelly Lynch, Teri Hatcher, Mary Stuart Masterston and Eric Roberts all contribute with good performances All but Roberts are the "good guys" in this one.

The movie keeps your attention and has you involved for most of the two hours. The action is well-dispersed. My only complaint is a small one: Baldwin with the southern accent doesn't sound natural. Otherwise, a good modern-day crime story.
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Against most reviews of this film, for the genre it is it is one of the best.
Rhodes-821 August 1999
I put this film up there with "Two Days in the Valley", as one of the most entertaining of its genre of cops-excops-drugs-mob type movies. I think the main criticism of it has to do with the ruthless violence along with the revenge theme of Baldwin's part. But violence is as violence does in film. Although it ends abruptly, Baldwin's acting was still superb, and so was everyone else's acting. All the female actors did superb job, not just Teri Hatcher. The writers could have put more meaningful time and script into the DEA agent's role as he also had added some positive "good guy" vibe to it, although "good-guy vibe" was not 100% present in his role. It was unclear as to why he kept showing up the way he did in the movie. Writing further revelation of that into the movie could have been done and helped round out the movie more. They had a good actor in the role of the DEA agent, as well. Good acting in the role of Baldwin's Bayou employee.
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Good Movie; entertaining
joey-909 November 1999
Excellent flick. Caught me by surprise on TV, never heard of it. Very well done; all actors superb. Violent and good action yet slow enough to go deep. Interesting story and atmosphere down in Louisiana. Knowing that Alec Baldwin is from Long Island I thought the accent was done well enough to be convincing. I agree on someone's comment on the DEA agent/ friend. His character could have been more established but no real harm done. I really got into this movie.
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Fantastic stuff!
Corno-26 April 2000
Not exactly faithful to the book but the film certainly delivers as an enjoyable thriller.

Alec Baldwin is superb as Robicheaux, Lynch, Masterson and Hatcher are rather pretty and give the film what is needs but are mainly forgotten about as the film progresses. Roberts shows that he does have a great deal of talent to offer when it comes to a juicy part like this.

The film isn't brimming with action thankfully but it has a number of lengthy and exciting action sequences.

It seems to me that Baldwin is becoming something of the thinking mans action hero. Whilst Willis is off doing the brainless actioners Baldwin manages to get the intelligent movie. This is a fine example as is The Edge.

Baldwin makes this movie stunningly enjoyable and the supporting actors help a little but Baldwin manages to carry the whole thing single handedly.
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New Orleans
FSUKXAZ20 November 2005
Excellent movie. Takes place in steamy sultry New Orleans. I love movies that really explore the city, and this is no exception. New Orleans is wonderful city, even though it will never be the same as it once was. Just like "Tightrope" and "No Mercy" New Orlens is one of the main characters of this film. Eric Roberts as a rich bad guy and Alec Baldwin as he ex-cop are excellent in this film. Mary Stuart Masterson did a great job too as a lovable stripper with a heart of gold. Did I mention that Teri Hatcher is naked in this film? Oh, yes she is. What I might say to her in this movie: "No, I don't like your butterfly, but I like everything else around it". He he.
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Solid noir - a bit long but Baldwin makes it work
bob the moo21 March 2004
Ex-cop and ex-drunk Dave Robicheaux has got his life back and makes a living selling bait outside New Orleans with his wife Annie. When they witness a plane crash into the river, Dave saves a little girl and they decide to keep her since she has been orphaned. However, when they then get a visit from the DEA and some local heavies it is apparent that the plane was doing more than just carrying a few illegals and soon Dave finds his new life rapidly crumbling around him.

Opening with a stylish and atmospheric semi to-camera confession, this film immediately caught my interest and managed to hold throughout despite not actually being that good. The film is set in the Deep South and is full or rather annoying mannerisms and clichés from that area that put me off a bit. Despite this, I still quite enjoyed it; the plot meanders out of control a bit and involves too many characters to really keep a tight emotional grip on the audience but it still have enough grit and tension to it to keep you watching. Some elements are better than others though - when the film focuses on Dave and his tough investigation it is great; but when it tries to expand (eg with Robin) it just comes across as baggy.

The film hasn't got massive action scenes but it does have some good chases and moments of thrills - most notably a roof top chase across New Orleans. These are fine but the film does too much talking in slow southern drawls for my liking - also making the film feel a lot longer than it probably was! The talking is fine, but it does more than enough to set the tone and action - and then it keeps talking! Combine this with the characters and you have a film that can't help but feel baggy and slightly disjointed.

The one thread that holds it all together though is Baldwin. He gives a great performance across the whole film; dealing well with the various emotions that it throws at him. Roberts is OK, certainly better than some other rubbish I've seen him in. Lynch is given little to do but look good in a bikini; Masterson is not cast well and doesn't fit into the trashy stripper role; Hatcher gets naked and looks good but her character is not dealt with that well by the script. The support cast includes Hall and Guilfoyle but this is Baldwin's film and, for it's other faults, he carries it with him. The direction is also good; using some very good shots to up the tension and the pace of the film at key moments - if only the editor had been a bit more persistent though.

Overall this is a tough noir-ish thriller that works well for the majority despite feeling bogged down by dialogue and characters at times. If you can put up with the heavy Southern drawls and the iced-tea clichés then it is worth a look.
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So, right about now I'm thinking' your head would make a real nice toilet brush.
lastliberal8 January 2009
I love reading James Lee Burke's novels about Dave Robicheaux. I also love movies set in New Orleans or anywhere in Louisiana. They always have good music and interesting characters. This film is no exception.

Now, I will not compare the movie to the book. Each has to stand on it's own as an art form. I just like seeing some favorite characters brought to life on screen.

Don Stark (Bob from "That '70s Show"), Hawthorne James (Se7en, Amistad), and Oscar nominee Eric Roberts (Runaway Train, The Dark Knight, A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) played bad guys and they had a New Orleans flavor about them. Oscar-nominee Alec Baldwin (The Cooler) seemed a little forced in his attempt to be Cajun.

Teri Hatcher ("Desperate Housewives") was hot as usual, especially when she was standing starkers on the balcony.

Joe Viterelli (Analyze This, Analyze That) was perfect as a mob boss.

Kelly Lynch, Vondie Curtis-Hall ("Chicago Hope") and Mary Stuart Masterson (Benny & Joon) rounded out a great cast in a good movie.
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Baldwin Could've Been Hard-Boiled But Ends Up Soggy
I remember going to great lengths to fit a matinée showing of HEAVEN'S PRISONERS into a busy Saturday afternoon during its 1996 theatrical release. Considering the source material and the talent behind and in front of the camera, our little filmgoing party of detective-film fans and Alec Baldwin groupies (a.k.a. my mom, my stepfather, and me) found this contemporary film noir to be a big disappointment. Baldwin, who also served as co-producer, brought James Lee Burke's New Orleans ex-cop/recovering alcoholic hero Dave Robichoux from the printed page to the big screen. While Baldwin and the rest of the cast did well in fleshing out Burke's characters and have some tangy tough-guy/gal dialogue, they're hampered by two things: 1.) The film's slo-o-o-ow pacing. Maybe the Louisiana heat got to everyone, not just Baldwin. Of all the actors, Long Island native Baldwin sweats the most, so much that it began to remind me of the sweating-bullets gags with Albert Brooks in BROADCAST NEWS and Robert Hays in AIRPLANE! 2.) A plot that, as rendered in the film (whether it's the fault of the screenwriter or the editor, I can't be sure), never quite follows through on any of its elements. It's too bad, because these elements could've made for an exciting movie: drug dealing, illegal alien smuggling, rival crime bosses (one is played colorfully by Eric Roberts before he became a parody of himself, essentially playing a Southern-fried version of his character from director Phil Joanou's 1992 thriller FINAL ANALYSIS), an adorable little Salvadoran orphan girl (named "Alafair" by the Robichouxs, after Dave's mom. Late in my pregnancy at the time, I liked the name Alafair so much, I nearly changed my mind about naming my then-unborn daughter Siobhan!), and a bevy of beautiful, beguiling women, including earth mother Kelly Lynch, vampy Teri Hatcher in a full-frontal nude scene that was much ballyhooed at the time, and Mary Stuart Masterson, looking like a young Jessica Lange in what was then a change-of-pace role for her: a troubled stripper who loves Robichoux. Despite the sexy promises in the movie's ads, none of the ladies share anything with Baldwin but dialogue and some kisses and/or embraces. Maybe the climate was already so hot, the filmmakers didn't want to add any further steaminess for fear of poor Baldwin collapsing from heat prostration! As my mom put it at the time: "I thought the height of my day would be seeing sexy, dashing Alec Baldwin, but he came up sweaty, rumpled, tired, depressed, and moving as if he was in slow motion. If he'd made love as many times as he got beaten up, it would've been the sexiest picture of '96!" To be fair, there *are* a number of strong characterization and action scenes, but there's just too darn much talky, molasses-paced lag time between them -- and yet, oddly, some of the scenes end abruptly just as they're about to become intriguing! Perhaps Joanou, Baldwin & Co. could've dredged a tighter, more involving thriller out of this if they'd whittled the 140-minute running time down to 105 minutes or so. As HEAVEN'S PRISONERS is now...well, read James Lee Burke's books instead.
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Dave Robicheaux, New Orleans detective
jess-306 March 1999
Nearly remake of 'The Big Easy' with very similar plot. Former police detective, supposedly kicked off force, for excessive violence, becomes involved in criminal underworld machinations involving his old childhood friend. Some New Orleans ambiance but not enough for dyed-in-the-wool fans. Essentially slightly above-average action film with lots of graphic violence and not too many surprises in the plot.
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Goes nowhere, and takes FOREVER to get there!
bheyer29 December 2004
This movie goes absolutely NOWHERE, and it takes its sweet time getting there. All of the characters talk like they just left a Humphrey Bogart/Dashiell Hammett/Raymond Chandler film noir picture from the '40's, only highlighted with Cajun accents, instead. Lotsa' veiled threats; I mean EVERY cliché in the book, and then some. Star, Alec Baldwin, is horribly miscast, and runs the acting gamut from "A" to "B." Dennis Quaid, who starred in the earlier, and FAR superior, "The Big Easy," would've made a much better choice for leading man. Alas, we're STUCK with one of the acting-challenged Baldwin Brothers. Poor us! Some of the other posters on this thread made mention of "bloopers." Well, I didn't see them, woe is me. If I had known about them, earlier, I'm sure they would've provided me with some impetus to stay with this "yawner" without dozing-off, from time-to-time. As it is, if you miss Teri Hatcher's ("Desperate Housewives") EXQUISITE nude scene near the beginning of the film, you really have nothing to stick around for. If I had a choice to make, either watch THIS movie, OR the aforementioned "The Big Easy," I'd go with the latter film, EVERY day of the week, and TWICE on Sunday! Again, to be seen ONLY for Teri Hatcher's full-frontal (the collar matches the cuff!) nude scene.
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Prisoners of Confusion
sol12184 July 2004
****SPOILERS**** Highly overdone thriller that could have cut about a half hour and have three or four sub-plots taken out of it to make it really interesting and effective instead of putting you to sleep and leaving you numb by the time that it ended.

It's complicated Film-Noir plot has a recovering former alcoholic New Orleans policeman Dave Rebocheaux, Alec Baldwin, and his wife Annie, Kelly Lynch, adopting a little girl Alafair, Samantha Laqpacan. Alafair survived a plane crash that was the result of a bomb hidden on it by the Bubba Rocque, Eric Roberts, mob who got wind that a DEA informant was on the plane smuggling illegal aliens into the US.

The ex-cop Dave gets involved with the Bubba Rocque mobs operations as well as with Bubba's hot and sexy wife Claudette, Teri Hatcher, even though Dave had no reason to since he was no longer in the New Orleans Police department. By him foolishly doing that Dave put his wife adopted daughter and himself in a whole lot of danger which in the end cost his wife's, Annie's, life. It also turns out that both Dave & Bubba are good friends going back to when they were both in high school.

Dave to leave his quiet and peaceful little business selling fish-bait in the Southern Louisiana Bayou country for the pressures and dangers of the big city wasn't that bright of an idea in the first place. The pressures of the city can easily drive him to drink which Dave has done his best to avoid.

The local mob tries to knock off Dave but ends up killing his wife, Annie, which makes Dave even madder and more determined to get revenge. Dave tracks down and kills two of his wife's killers Toot & Romero, Carl A. McGee & Milligan Hawthorne. The third killer is found electrocuted in his bathtub when someone from the Rocque mob, I guess, threw in a turned on radio to keep him from talking.

Dave and the audience finds out in the end of the movie who's really behind, together with the Mafia, all this carnage. The ending leaves you cold and jaded because the movie was so long and confusing with so many blind alleys that you just lost interest in it by the time the big surprise was thrown on you. In fact the movie reviled the culprit long before it ended making the whole ending anticlimactic.

Alec Baldwin as Dave Rebocheaux does his best to put some believability in his role as well as in the movie but he falls flat on his face since he had no reason at all to be so involved in what was happening on the screen. Dave was no longer a part of the police department and it was theirs and the DEA's job to solve the crimes in the film not his.

Dave's actions put people that he loved and were close to him in jeopardy for no reason at all. The movie "Heavens Prisoners" would have been more effective if it stuck to one story like keeping the Mafia and Rocque mob from getting their hands on little Alafair who was the only survivor of the plane crash. Alafair may have known something about who was behind blasting the plane out of the sky as well as it smuggling drugs and illegal aliens into the US. That danger would have Dave and Annie protecting her and keeping the gangsters from killing or kidnapping her to keep her quite. Instead the film went off in some half dozen different directions and by doing that getting everybody in the audience lost following it.

The one good thing that Alec Baldwin did in the film besides taking care of the bad guys and doing, or having done, in the person who was responsible for all the chaos, including his wife's brutal murder, was that he did his best not to take a drink in the movie; even though there were one or two exceptions.
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The butterfly
jotix10021 December 2004
Having missed the opening credits, I had no idea this film was based on a James Lee Burke book. As it enfolded, I remembered the book and stayed with it, just to refresh my mind. Director Phil Joanou could have used some trimming, as this is a film that desperately needed it.

James Lee Burke's books center around former New Orleans cop, Dave Robicheaux, here played by Alec Baldwin. The movie goes all over the place with plots and sub-plots and it gets a bit tedious.

The best performances, in my humble opinion were Teri Hatcher's as Claudette, a girl who doesn't mind baring it all, and Mary Stuart Masterson, who plays Robin, the "exotic" dancer from the Quarter with a heart of gold.

The story is set in the bayous of Louisianna. We watch as our hero Alec Baldwin practically dehydrates in front of our eyes due to the high humidity in some scenes and immediately look as cool as a cucumber wearing the same shirt that has dried automatically.

The action is all right, but everything is predictable. Watch it on a cold winter night so you can get into a sweating mood.
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This desperate Housewive steals the show
movieman_kev20 December 2004
After rescuing an orphaned young girl in an air-plain crash and a visit from a DEA agent, Dave Robicheaux (Alec Baldwin) gets drawn into a rather unfortunate series of events.This film has about as much of a running time as "State of Grace", but at the same time feels a bit longer, as this movie doesn't flow quite as well as the aforementioned one. It could've definitely stood to have been trimmed up a tad. Yet the acting is adequate enough, there's a great chase sequence and Terri Hatcher has one of the more memorable entrances to say the least.

Where I Saw it: Starz Mystery

My Grade: B+

Eye Candy: Terri Hatcher pulls off The full Monty on a balcony
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Waiting for DVD
Tom-4087 August 2002
Hey, Terri Hatcher is definitely the main attraction. Granted, no academy award winner for sure but, I loved it. I wish they would hurry up and put it on DVD. There is so much worse material out there on DVD. I just don't know how all that works.
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To anyone who didn't like the movie...read the book(s).
bayou5227 January 2001
To "iknow", the Australian who suggested the only good thing in "Heaven's Prisoners" is Teri Hatcher, I would respectfully suggest that he/she read the book...along with the rest of the Robicheaux series of detective novels by award winning author James Lee Burke. Being from New Orleans and also married to a Cajun from South Louisiana, as well as an avid fan of Burke's, I watched this movie with utmost scrutiny--3 times. I was at first dubious about Alec Baldwin playing the part of a Southerner, much less my beloved Cajun detective, Dave Robicheaux, aka "streak". After 2 viewings, I concluded he had done a fine job,indeed. The movie did well in doing the impossible, which is to capture on film the lush tapestry that is South Louisiana the bayous and New Orleans as captured in language by the unequaled master of description, James Lee Burke. To have made an action movie out of it would have been to bastardized it and ruined it. I feel for viewers who find a movie unsuitable because the body count hasn't mounted to 10 in the first 15 minutes or there isn't a burning car or an explosion every other frame. "Heaven's Prisoners" was the first, or one of the first, in the Robicheaux series by Burke and provides expose' for future tales. Again, the film captured the "feel" of Burke's seductive Louisiana Wetlands along with his character's troubled alcoholic mind as he constantly is forced to come to terms with life's underbelly and, ultimately, himself.

As an aside and correction to the member providing the plot outline, Dave resides in New Iberia, Louisiana, a real town close to Lafayette, not on "the outskirts of New Orleans".
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Alec's few really good movies
coverme616 April 2000
Among "The Getaway," this is Alec Baldwin's few great movies.

The rest is mediocre! Anyway, Alec hits his stride as Dave, a

tough ex-cop from New Orleans who tries to solve a murder and a

plane crash in the bayous. Along the way, Dave meets a

conspiracy head-on when he encounters several sultry women,

especially Claudette (the hot Teri Hatcher) and his old buddy

Bubba, who is up to no good. Alec manages to shine in this

film-noir flick, and his costars do great as well. But, sadly, I

don't know if Alec would do a good job like this ever again! His

acting is so bland most of the time! Among the Baldwin Bros. I

think the best are Stephen and Billy, and not Alec or Daniel (I

think he's l
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A Very Good Thriller Down on the Bayou
Ed-Shullivan20 November 2013
Dave Robicheaux (played by Alec Baldwin) is an ex cop who decides after one too many shootings on the force to open up a fishing tackle and bait shop on the Bayou with his wife Annie, played by Kelly Lynch. While they are out on their boat they witness a single engine plane spiralling down from the sky barely missing their boat before it crashes in to the water. Robicheaux dives in to the water down to the planes cockpit where he sees a small child trying to survive in an air pocket amongst a few dead people. With his air supply quickly diminishing in his scuba gear he rescues the child from a near death experience and with his wife Annie in agreement they agree to raise the young girl as their own even though she does not speak a word of English.

A Detective Minos Dautrieve, played by Vondie Curtis-Hall drops by the bait shop inquiring in to how many passengers Robicheaux witnessed on the sunken plane when it initially submerged in the water and he tells Robicheaux to forget about the big guy with the whale tattoo who floated to the waters surface. This gets Robichaux's curiosity up and he starts making inquiries that a few local criminals want him to stop inquiring about. One of these criminals is a guy named Bubba Rocque played very well by Eric Roberts who answers to some bosses higher up the criminal food chain. Bubba's wife Claudette, played by Teri Hatcher is a bit of a tramp who likes to sip cocktails most of the day and chase men.

Eventually threats don't stop Robicheaux's inquiries and since he won't let up with his investigation, the mobsters decide to lay a beating on him to firmly tell him to stop his inquiries. Further threats are made and fulfilled as Robicheaux continues with his investigation with the quasi assistance of mobster Bubba's wife.

The movie does run a bit long at around 132 minutes but I did not find the movies length composed with any filler time. There were twists and turns throughout, the bayou scenes were quite expansive and the acting was above par. Mary Stuart Masterson plays a stripper named Robin Gaddis who has a unique relationship with Alec Baldwin's character Dave Robicheaux which strengthens throughout the film. This is a good film for couples to watch together as it contains romance, heroism, action and suspense. Well worth the watch, and 132 minutes well spent!
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In which a brave,honourable man finds redemption
ianlouisiana21 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
James Lee Burke is the poet of Blue Collar America.Waitresses,oil - rig workers,bartenders,dirt - farmers,cowboys,cops,people who live by their wits and the strength of their arms,the disenfranchised and the lost,he is their literary champion. Detective Dave Robicheaux is his best - known creation,an imperfect man certainly,but a principled one. Mrf Burke's novels are not for readers looking for a quick fix,an easy resolution,thus "Heaven's Prisoners",the movie,is atypical for a 90s cop flick. In his somewhat chequered career,Det.Robicheaux has moved around from New Orleans to LaFayette,from Sheriff's Office to Police Dept,frequently under suspension,but always feared by the criminals and grudgingly respected by his superiors.At the time the movie is set he has quit law enforcement and is working his bait - shop/cafe on the Bayou.He witnesses a light aircraft crash and rescues a little girl from the wreckage.It is an act that changes the lives of many people. The movie is atmospheric and character - led with much depending on Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Det.Robicheaux.Mr Baldwin responds to this challenge with a complex and subtle performance.His interaction with the rescued girl - named Alafair,incidentally,the name of Burke's real - life daughter - is finely done,and the development of their relationship is the core point of the movie. In some ways Det.Robicheaux's former profession is purely incidental. "Heaven's Prisoners" is the story of a brave,honourable man who faces the consequences of his actions and finds redemption through the innocence of a child.It's a fine movie.
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There should have been sequels
john-malson16 August 2006
The character of Dave Robicheaux would have been a fascinating one to follow in follow-up features, which is what Alex Baldwin at one time had in mind. But to date, Heaven's Prisoners is the only one made. Having read the James Lee Burke novels, there were a tremendous opportunity to have seen the New Orleans underworld in a way that had both an eerie attraction and a noir aspect that could have translated into a very powerful set of features. There is still something there that could be tapped, because a setting in the Crescent City is a natural for this type of movie. Heaven's Prisoners just scratched the surface. It certainly helped having one of my favorite nasty guys playing Bubba Rocque, in Eric Roberts, and Teri Hatcher showing off her butterfly, pre-Desperate Housewives. But then, Burke's novels have some of the weirdest evil-doers twisting Robicheaus every which way and Prisoners had its share. Makes for a great show.
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Disappointingly routine.
gridoon25 January 2004
Despite its New Orleans flavor, an honest performance by Alec Baldwin and nice turns by Eric Roberts and Teri Hatcher (whose role as a seductive femme fatale fits her like a glove; she should try it more often), this morose action/crime flick is generic and unremarkable. If you run across this movie at the video store, don't be fooled by the "name" cast and pass it up. Highlight: the chase scene midway through. (**)
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