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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Stalled storylines cloud Electric MistPosted Friday, June 5, 2009, at 10:46 PM
By CAINE GARDNER
A film critic is part treasure hunter. The booty is a special film that flies under the radar that the critic discovers and brings to the masses. Recently I stumbled upon a movie that I felt fit that description
In the Electric Mist boasts a cast of great supporting actors and a story line that sounded like it could be a winner.
In the Electric Mist is a mess of a movie. With talent such as Tommy Lee Jones, Peter Sarsgaard and John Goodman, the film is a far cry from anything resembling a cohesive story.
When the film begins, Dave Robicheaux (Jones), a detective and recovering alcoholic, is investigating the disappearance and murder of a local prostitute. He has little in the way of leads, but feels that he will link the murder back to Julie "Baby Feet" Balboni (Goodman).
A separate plot line is inserted after Robincheaux stops Elrod Sykes (Sarsgaard), an actor in town for a project, for speeding and a DUI. The actor informs the detective that he's recently discovered a skeleton with chains around its midsection in the swamp.
The major problem with this movie is that it tries to take on too many things. It tries to have two plots lines that tell a major story, but both fall apart in the end. The first quest, the deceased girl, is lost and never resolved. The second doesn't add up either.
To hear Jones' character tell it, he watched the killing of a black man in the swamp when he was a boy, but one of those accused looks 15 years younger. That, coupled with the first plot line fizzling out, makes this movie completely unbelievable.
Goodman delivers a solid performance as Balboni, a big shot who believes that his money buys him the right to do whatever he wants. Sarsgaard has some fine moments, but those are few and far between.
I'm a huge fan of Jones, but he is almost laughable as detective Robicheaux. The actor provides a narrative over some scenes that sound like Grandpa Jones attempting to deliver Shakespeare. Jones sounds like he's struggling with it. I don't fault Jones as much as I fault the screenwriter and director. It's their job to realize what they have and make necessary adjustments and they failed to do it.
There are also scenes where Robicheaux has encounters and has conversations with the ghost of Civil War General John Bell Hood (Levon Helm). The general offers some simple advice to Robicheaux, but the viewer is left to wonder, "What the heck is going on?"
Jones, Goodman and Sarsgaard attempt to make the best out of a very bad situation, but even they are not enough to overcome a flawed storyline and poor execution.
The only extra feature attached to the disk is the theatrical trailer.
Final Cut: Mist has a storyline that quickly evaporates and scrambles to hold things together. The flick is a perfect storm of poor filmmaking.
2 out of 5 stars
In the Electric Mist
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Peter Sarsgaard, John Goodman, Mary Steenburgen
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Writer: Jerzy Kromolowski, Mary Olson Kromolowski (Screenplay adaptation), James Lee Burke (Source Material)
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and brief sexuality/nudity.
* Theatrical Trailer