lördag, april 17, 2010

In the Electric Mist

...is a film by Bertrand Tavernier.

Tommy Lee Jones is a policeman (Lt. Dave Robicheaux) coming to Louisiana (New Iberia) to investigate a savage murder of a prostitute and he thinks that the local Mob leader - Julie Balboni (John Goodman) - could be guilty of this crime.
Balboni is also the co-producer of a civil-war film and he seems rather unscrupulous as a person, Robicheaux obviously knowing him for a long time. Balboni says somewhere in the film that: "we used to be friends...".
On the same time one of the 'film-stars' participating in this movie, starts to talk about another corpse found nearby, a black man, shot many years ago, a crime Robicheaux actually witnessed.
At the time he was young and afraid of going to the police, reporting this crime.
Robicheaux' work does to some extent disturb some people in the area and he feels he's being fooled and at the same time he becomes more and more interested in the old murder of the black man. Maybe he could link the two murders to each other?

It's a fairly good handicraft but unfortunately the acting and characters are very clichélike.

Intertwined in all this is Robichaux' fictive dreamlike talk with one of the characters of the 'film within the film' - the Civil War-film.
This did'nt add much to the story, it feels superfluous, something you add to make the film more 'artistic' perhaps.
If one want to use this kind of intertwined stories, it has to add something to a film, sentiments, philosophical ideas, a lapse in time or anything else that enriches the story in some way.

By using the big and rather fat(!?) John Goodman in the role as the local 'Godfather' Tavernier yield to the very traditional picture of such a person and Jones is the somewhat tired cop, somewhat blasé but at the same time - almost - a heart of gold.

Tavernier also uses Tommy Lee Jones characters voice as a voice over telling stories of the past and the present, linking past and present together.
This technic seems to be influenced by the classic police- or crime stories on film, like Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer when done for the movies or TV.

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