Devil In A Blue Dress – Day Twenty Three – #40movies40days

d54252bc28dYet another wheezing and coughing allergy day.  I needed to get to work on my Thriller Workshop in New York, so I decided to catch up with Devil In A Blue Dress. This tepid adaptation of Walter Mosley’s novel is a disappointment.  I can only hope the book was better.

Easy Rawlins (Denzel Washington) loses his job and is offered a quick $100 to find a politician’s girlfriend.  She’s a white girl who likes hot jazz and has been seen frequenting an illegal “colored” nightclub.  Denzel quickly gets caught up in murder and blackmail.

In the best thrillers, (Power of Truth stories) the crime or mystery is a way of going deeper into the main character.  While the investigator is chasing someone or something he is usually running from himself. No such thing happens in Devil In A Blue Dress.  It’s a straight forward by-the-numbers episodic investigation.  No larger deeper truth is revealed.  We learn nothing new about the protagonist and he learns nothing about himself as a result of solving the mystery.

Worse, the devil in a blue dress isn’t devilish at all.  She’s just misguided, believing love will trump her mixed race background and she can marry her white prince charming.  She’s a femme fatale on the run without any dangerous claws.

Roger Ebert summed up my feelings perfectly in his review:

I liked the movie without quite being caught up in it: I liked the period, tone and look more than the story, which I never really cared much about. The explanation, when it comes, tidies all the loose ends, but you’re aware it’s arbitrary – an elegant solution to a chess problem, rather than a necessary outcome of guilt and passion.  http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19950929/REVIEWS/509290302

It doesn’t surprise me there was no second movie adaptation of the Easy Rawlins franchise.

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