Monday, July 30, 2012

DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS (1995) - Carl Franklin

Another L.A. period piece based on a novel by another fine modern crime writer (Walter Mosley) delivered skillfully to the screen by a criminally under-appreciated director (Carl Franklin). A lot of people remember this as just another Denzel Washington flick, a little sleeper he did before permanently climbing into the big budget bed with director Tony Scott. Either that, or they remember it as the first time they saw Don Cheadle, who turns in a scarily effective performance as Washington's unhinged sidekick, Mouse. Both are fine reasons to remember Devil, but there's also a whipcrack detective story here, one of the few I've seen that hinges on race as the source of its many prerequisite plot twists.

I've read several of Mosely's other Easy Rawlins novels. There's more of Mouse in each, and they're pretty damn good. It's a shame this movie didn't make more money, so Easy Rawlins could have been an ongoing franchise. I can only imagine where Franklin, Washington and Cheadle would have taken Mosely's South Central gumshoe from here.

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