Movie Reviews: Devil in A Blue Dress




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     Tri-Star (1 hr. 42 min.)
     An out of work factory worker becomes a private detective to make ends meet.
     Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
Bottom Line:


      It's 1948, the heyday of the private dick. The flick opens as Easy Rollins (Denzel Washington) is sitting in a dive where he just spent his last fin on a glass of cold suds wondering how he's going to pay this month's rent. Suddenly Rollins is approached by DeWitt Albright (Tom Sizemore), a white man who says he needs a favor. Rollins asks Albright what's his angle? Albright gets off the dime, and cuts to the chase. He says he wants Rollins to tag onto a doll he's been looking for. A doll that goes by the name of Daphne Monet. Albright explains Daphne is the kind of skirt that would make men roll over, give a quick wag of the tail and beg to have their bellies scratched. The only wrinkle is, Daphne is a white chick who fancies sleazy, black, after-hours joints.
     With job prospects slow, and his bank account low -- Rollins decides to waltz it around. It isn't long after Rollins starts asking embarrassing questions about the doll with the great gams, when people start turning up croaked. Rollins quickly finds himself caught in a web of intrigue and double cross. Dealing with blackmail, brutal cops and crooked city politicians turns out to be bad for his health, so he sends for his volatile friend Mouse (Don Cheadle) to even the odds.
     Devil In A Blue Dress, based on Walter Mosley's 1990 book, is a top-drawer, A-number one detective drama told in the tradition of Raymond Chandler with the social realism of Native Son  author Richard Wright. Washington turns in a great preformace as Rollins, and fans will be surprised that he isn't playing his usual tough guy role.
     Washington gives Rollins a plenitude of human frailties and fears, which makes the character believable. Don Cheadle's portral of Rollins friend Mouse holds the film together and makes it work.



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