Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA, 1997. Warner Bros., Malpaso Productions, Silver Pictures. Screenplay by John Lee Hancock, based on the book by John Berendt. Cinematography by Jack N. Green. Produced by Clint Eastwood, Arnold Stiefel. Music by Lennie Niehaus. Production Design by Henry Bumstead. Costume Design by Deborah Hopper. Film Editing by Joel Cox.
Clint Eastwood’s drawn-out directorial style of film making is ill-suited to the Southern gothic atmosphere of this adaptation of John Berendt’s celebrated novel. John Cusack plays a Yankee writer visiting New Orleans who suddenly finds himself smack-dab in the middle of a murder investigation when a wealthy playboy (Kevin Spacey) is accused of murdering his reckless young boyfriend (Jude Law). The story is jam-packed with colourful characters and insanely decorative drawing rooms, but Eastwood’s camera finds them all so boring that viewers will feel the same, and by the time you reach the drawn-out courtroom scenes in the last third of the film your patience will have completely run out. Spacey’s performance is top-notch however, as is Lady Chablis as a mysterious lady with more than a few secrets connected to the explosive case.