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Archive for July 18th, 2010

In the Electric Mist (2009)

Based on the 1993 novel “In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead”, the sixth of eighteen (so far) novels featuring the character Dave Robicheaux written by James Lee Burke. Heaven’s Prisoners (1996) starring Alec Baldwin was based on a later book in the series.

On his way from a crime scene where a young woman has been brutally murdered detective Dave Robicheaux (Tommy Lee Jones) stops a drunk driver. The motorists turns out to be movie star Elrod Sykes (Peter Sarsgaard) and his girlfriend and fellow actor Kelly Drummond (Kelly Macdonald) who are in the area shooting a civil war movie. I an attempt to avoid prosecution Elrod mentions that he has seen in a decayed body in a swamp, little does he realise that it relates to a killing that has haunted Robicheaux for forty years.

The movie features a great cast including John Goodman, Ned Beatty and Mary Steenburgen as well as blues legend Buddy Guy, but this is Tommy Lee Jones’ movie. Told from the point of view of Dave Robichaux, he appears in every scene and provides an occasional voiceover. Therefore the movie succeeds or fails on the character; a somewhat clichéd character, a recovering alcoholic who is happy to break the rules but has his own moral and ethical code, Tommy Lee Jones makes him a likable and sympathetic character. As the story unfolds the plot has a slightly predicable and convenient feel to it preventing it from being a great film.

It is basically an old-fashioned crime/mystery thriller that does exactly what you would expect of such a movie. Not a classic that you will want to see over and over again but definitely worth a look and certainly better than a lot of movies that get a cinema release. Given the star power on display it is surprising that it missed out on a cinema release but it did and débuted on DVD earlier this year.

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