L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 11/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is the end of WWII. Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins(Denzel Washington) returns from the war to find segregation,discrimination, and a decent job hard to come by. He has used the little bit of money he had to buy a house and car, but he must find a way to keep up the payments. A job does come his way, it sounds shady, but it's seems to be easy cash, so he takes it. The job...To find a missing woman named Daphne Monet(Jennifer Beals)...seems easy enough.
Finding this mysterious woman, Easy, gets into trouble at every turn. Dead bodies start turning up all around him. The cops harass him,he uncovers political foul play, and a dark secret about the woman. Working with him is his old friend "Mouse" (Don Cheadle), who's answer to everything is shoot first and ask questions later. The "reward" for finding this woman and what she knows is growing as the answers start leading up the ladder of society. Is Easy's interest now for the money or the girl? If you like the old style of film noir in movies like "Laura" or the newer modern film noir like "L.A. Confidential" you'll love "Devil in a Blue Dress". It's gripping, edge of your seat stuff.Director Carl Franklin and director of photography Tak Fujimoto give us a great look at this steamy side of Los Angeles in the 1940's.The musical score by Elmer Bernstein is wonderfully atmospheric, and the old rhythm and blues or"Shout and Jump" music by such greats
as T-Bone Walker and Duke Ellington are a great addition to 1940's feel. The cast also features Tom Sizemore and Maury Chaykin. The DVD(Columbia Tri-Star) is a nice transfer. It is in widescreen, with a full screen version on the other side. Picture and colors are outstanding. The sound was good, dialouge a little low at times but still good. Features include Director's commentary during the film if you want, Don Cheadle's screen test and trailers. There are subtitles for those needing them.All that is needed now is another EASY RAWLINS story..how bout it Denzel?..........Enjoy........Laurie"
A neo-noir of the first order
TheIrrationalMan | 09/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A voluptuously seedy tale of blackmail, murder and double-cross, "Devil in a Blue Dress" captures splendidly the mood of the forties, and is a worthy modern equivalent to old gems such as "Double Indemnity", "The Blue Dahlia" and "The Big Sleep". Acting, writing, direction, cinematography and music are all of an par above the standards of conventional filmmaking. Denzel Washington -- (an actor who is flawless in every performance) -- is superb in the role of Walter Moseley's detective, Easy Rawlins, the classic noir type of the down-at-heel gumshoe. He receives excellent support from Jennifer Beals, Tom Sizemore and Don Cheadle as his gun-crazy help. A heady aroma of sexuality and intrigue make this one of the most absorbing of recent noir film adaptations. Carl Franklin, with a flair for suspenseful situations, directs crisply."
Stylish Post-War Mystery
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 07/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's summer in Los Angeles, 1948. Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins (Denzel Washington) returned from World War II a few years ago to a land of opportunity. He got a job, a mortgage and a home of his own. But now he has lost his job and is determined not to lose his house. A friend introduces Easy to a sleazy character named DeWitt Albright (Tom Sizemore) who ostensibly is trying to locate the former girlfriend of mayoral candidate Tom Carter (Terry Kinney) so that the couple may be reunited. Desperate to keep making his mortgage payments, Easy accepts the job of finding the girlfriend, a woman named Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals). His search causes him to be suspect in several murders and arouses the interest of the rival candidate for mayor, Matthew Teran (Maury Chaykin). Easy finds that he is not the only person looking for Daphne Monet and that no one is exactly who he, or she, appears to be. As motives become less clear and the trail becomes more murderous, Easy calls on a childhood friend named Mouse (Don Cheadle), who has more experience in the criminal underworld and is more than willing to use force, for help. With the police, Albright, and Daphne Monet all demanding his loyalty, Easy must buy time and use his wits to unravel the mystery of Daphne's identity and uncover the scandals that will make or break the careers of two of the city's prominent politicians."Devil in a Blue Dress" is based on the detective novel of the same name by Walter Mosley. Screenwriter and director Carl Franklin has altered and simplified Mosley's novel for the screen and employed cinematographer Tak Fujimoto to create a stark and moody environment in sunny California. Fujimoto's cinematography looks great and is reminiscent of the film noirs of the 1940's, when the story takes place, and also does an excellent job of communicating the tone of the novel visually. The degree to which the film evokes the style of World War II era film noirs is striking considering that "Devil in a Blue Dress" is in color. This film isn't as sexy as the novel on which it is based, nor is it as effective in conveying Easy's desperation. It is, however, more tightly woven, more plausible, and more enmeshed in city politics. Don Cheedle's interpretation of "Mouse" couldn't be better. And the cinematography is a pleasure to watch. "Devil in a Blue Dress" a stylish and enjoyable neo-noir adaptation."
An Overall great movie
J.M. Taliaferro | Mississippi | 11/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Devil in a Blue Dress" is based off of the same titled novel by Walter Mosely. The movie stars Denzel Washington as "Easy" Rawlins, an out of work aircraft engineer looking for a quick buck to save his house. He gets mixed in what seems like a simple job for easy money, but finds out there is more than meets the eye. He now has to go out for himself to get to the bottom of the crime that is threatening to be placed on him.
This is such a good movie. Denzel Washington gives an excellent performance as Easy Rawlins. He really lets the audience in on Easy's ambitious yet emotional side. Dnzel really brings an "everyman" charcteristic to this character. Maybe not one of HIS best works, but even his worst is pretty good.
Tom Sizemore does excellent as DeWitt Albright. He brought an extra sleaziness to the character without being too violent.
But the person who stole the movie was Don Cheadle as Raymond "Mouse" Alexander. It is amazing how Cheadle takes this characte of Mouse, who is supposed to be this hot-tempered, gun-wielding, criminal, and gives him a sort of playful innoncence. Cheadle definitely shines at those moments in the movie where Mouse flies off of the deep end and starts shooting everything in sight, but he also gives Mouse some comic value that is incredible.
I also like how the plot keeps you guessing a little bit, but also lets you figure out where the film is going plotwise without holding your hand to do so. This was a superbly acted, written, and directed movie."
Easy on the eyes
booknblueslady | Woodland, CA United States | 07/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Devil in a Blue Dress starring Denzel Washington has much to recommend it: the post war Los Angeles period setting, an exciting plot, great music and Denzel Washington in a sleeveless T. Denzel plays Ezekiel or Easy Rawlins, who has moved to Los Angeles from Texas seeking opportunity. Easy plans to move up in the world, but unfortunately he has hit a snag. He has recently lost his job. His friend Joddy offers him an out by introducing him to a man who wants to find a woman. Of course at this point things get interesting and aren't as easy as Easy would like.Denzel proves in his role of Easy Rawlins yet again why he is one of the hottest commodities in Hollywood. Denzel is electric. His Easy Rawlins is a man of action, morals, thought and conflict. Did I say he is wearing a sleeveless T?The setting for Devil in a Blue Dress is filled with smoke filled Jazz Clubs, well groomed bungalows, old black sedans sliding along the dark streets. For anyone who loves old private eye films this is a must. This is a whodunit which keeps the viewers attention."