Rated: R for violence. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: September 16, 1995 Released by: Columbia TriStar
Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals) wears the blue dress but she is more a victim than a devil. The film is interestingly staged but contains too much casual violence.
Easy Rawlins (Denzel Washington) is the focus of the story. All he wants is enough money to pay his mortgage, buy food and purchase clothing. That driving force pulls him into a search for Monet, places him at odds with local gangsters, in the hands of two brutal cops and in an alliance with his violent, volatile friend Mouse (Don Cheadle). Cheadle is chilling and steals the show as a killer who has no conscience and kills for the least reason. The excessive offhand violence is uncomfortable and disturbing, perhaps because it is delivered in a very comical way. The detective work by Easy Rawlins is like Raymond Chandler. Something is hidden and it affects the election of the mayor of Los Angeles.
Jennifer Beals' character, Daphne Monet, is similar to Elia Kazan's 1949 Pinky, played by Jeanne Crain. They each have a secret which can destroy a love affaire. Daphne also controls the key scandal to the election results.
Denzel Washington is great again, as he shows a range of emotion and determination which carries the film. Rawlins doesn't rage against injustice, he just pushes hard against it. He is not willing to do anything to achieve his goal, but he is willing to wallow through. His reward is to live on a street where kids laugh and play and the dirty cops drive by but don't stop. Nothing else matters, not the incredible violence, death, even the sexy mysterious stranger doesn't count; only his goal to survive as he understands survival.
This is a good film which could have been better with less senseless violence.
|Devil in a Blue Dress||B||B|