The movie would be much better if followed the book:
aeloz | 04/27/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Now, I know the above sounds cliche, but in this case, it's really true. I give the movie four stars for atmosphere and for really trying. I watched this movie twice and enjoyed it both times, for the cinematography alone-- which captures everything from the dense, powerful nature of the Louisiana swamps and bayous; to the gothic power of Louisiana Roman Catholic churches; to the cracked, decaying but colorful beauty of New Orleans itself. And where the movie stuck to the book, it was a very good adaptation. Baldwin falls a bit short in his characterization of Robicheaux, looking more often like he was having "digestive" problems than internal angst, but he obviously loves the character and does his best to depict a very internalized personality. Eric Roberts, by no means matching the physically imposing power of the novel's Bubba Rocque, gives his character the dark, attractive charisma and vitality that author James Lee Burke so often infuses the "gray" characters Robicheaux encounters in the novels, and adds some fun and zing to it, as well. Teri Hatcher is damn nasty, beautiful and seductive in the femme fatale role, and Masterson pulls off her role with just the right amount of sympathy and sass (though physically, each actress matches her opposite character in the novel, but it's not a problem here). It's unfortunate that Kelly Lynch doesn't give Robicheaux's doomed wife such memorable character, but in the novel series the character has one entire book behind her before her tragic end. The real problems come with the Hollywood ending-- why they did this instead of the more realistic and affecting ending in the novel, I'll never know (I recommend you read the book to find out-- it's a much more satisfying and telling conclusion). And the connection to the Giacano family, a recurring Robicheaux nemesis in some of the novels, but not the one on which the movie based, was unnecessary. However, the highly action-packed trolley car and rooftop chase, a purely cinematic addition to the novel's plot does work, very well, in my opinion. These kind of additions are needed for the big screen and I appreciated it. Lastly, the production was very good (Baldwin was one of the producers of the film), just as in Baldwin's "The Shadow" movie, which suffered ultimately from a poor script, and I have to commend him-- this movie very much seemed a labor of love. I wish this film had been more successful, because seeing other installments of James Lee Burke's Robicheaux series on the big screen would be very welcome to me, but alas, despite the "good ol' college try" this will never be. But do pick up the movie and watch it for what it does offer, and then get hold of the Burke novels and you'll really be in for a treat."
Better then Jole Blone
J. F Kopeck | Parkville, Maryland United States | 02/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an outstanding movie-if- you know how to watch it! The Cajun life is very different from what most folks think and this flick was made to the Cajun Standard. We ain't talken Miami Vice here. Even the inbred,line bred villins did an exceptional job. Eddie Keech and Victor Ramono looked as if they were born with 8 count shrimp in their mouth. The BB King Blues music in the bars was alright but there could of been some Androux Bordoux music instead as so the movie could really live up to what they were trying to reproduce. I think all the cast did a good job (next time use some Buyoo stand-ins). Overall this movie is about the best Cajun movie around. I put it right up there with the 1974 hit "Hard Times"with Charles Bronson and Robert Tessier! "ENJOY""
A Good Try to Bring a Great Book to Screen
Shogun Len | Arizona | 08/10/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have read all of James Lee Burke's David Robicheaux novels. They are fantastic and I highly recommend them to anyone looking for some good reading.While reading the books I have often tried to pictures which actors could play Robicheaux. A few come to mind: Bruce Willis, Tommy Lee Jones, Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin. In fact, Baldwin was the guy I pictured the most in the role. And I was amazed to find out he actually was starring and producing the film.For whatever reasons the film does not fully work. The acting, casting and direction are great. But the film just does not cut it.If you are fans of the books, the movie is interesting just to see visually what we have been picturing in all these novels. If you are unfamiliar with the books you will find the movie average at best.My advice is to read some of the books and then check out the film."
Mark A. Szymanski | Warren, MI United States | 01/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sure, everyone buys the video for the Teri Hatcher nude scene. You might as well...it did such bad box office that it went straight to TBS (minus nudity)so you won't be recording the unedited original off cable. You could just download the pix from a hundred sites, but dang rabbit, Teri is so sexy in this film that you want to get the whole thing. And while everyone criticizes Alex Baldwin's Cajun accent, Hatcher gets it smooth as silk. Girls, Listen...I didn't read the book. My wife did. And we agreed to see the film after seeing the trailer. She votes thumbs up. As a licensed private detective, I'm not sure I buy the uncoastered Gin Rickey water-mark taste test but, as Johnny Carson liked to say "You buy the premise--you buy the bit." I bought it on VHS."
Give it a chance....
Thomas Wooldridge | Round Rock,Texas United States | 10/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I for one love the flick. I thought that Alec Baldwin played Dave Robicheaux very well. Also I thought that Eric Roberts as Bubba Rock was an inspired choice. And it wasn't the actor's fault that the film sat on a shelf for years. They just got caught in the crumbling of Orion Studios. Thus no promotion was assigned to the film when it finally emerged. The saddest thing that may have occurred was that it cooled the creation of further films based upon the other Dave Robicheaux novels. I always felt that John Goodman would have made a grand Cletus Purcell!"