Sunday, March 08, 2009

In The Electric Mist: Grade D

In the Electric Mist (2009)
Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard, Mary Steenburgern, Ned Beatty, Buddy Guy. Director Bertrand Tavernier.

No movie with Tommy Lee Jones should be missed, but this one could be lower on the priority list. He is a detective in contemporary Louisiana bayou country, a perfect, steamy, location for a murder mystery. Locations, sets, costumes, and characterizations are all excellent, giving a palpable sense of place. But that’s the strongest feature of the movie. A serial killer is in the area, and so is evil mob boss Goodman, who is making a movie in town. Tommy Lee struts about asking questions and threatening people but does not follow police procedures in any detail. The mystery does not unravel. It just stays where it was at the start. A murder case from 40 years ago is also reopened, and it is unclear if it is related to the serial killer, who is never caught anyway, so who cares. A bad cop is shot as an apparent evildoer and Ned Beatty confesses to something, but the ending is chaos. There is a nice bit where a drugged TLJ talks to a hallucinated Confederate general, but there was no point to it. There are some tantalizing moments of fabulous blues from Buddy Guy, but inexplicably, the filmmakers mostly opted for cliche orchestration that cheapened whatever artistic merit the film has. What a blockhead decision that was. Good acting is evident from all the stars, but in the absence of a credible screenplay there is no way this movie had a chance.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I checked your review right before I went to Blockbuster, you saved me from this movie.