Sunday, 18 July 2010

Film Review: IN THE ELECTRIC MIST (2009)

Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Running time: 99 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

USA release date: 3rd March 2009

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 18th July 2010.


I have recently watched a documentary about how the southern states of the USA are depicted by Hollywood. It mostly dealt with films up to the 1970’s, picking out the likes of ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Deliverance’, to name but two. Then this one came up on TV so I thought it might be interesting to see a more modern film set in the south.

Dave Robicheaux is a detective working in rural Louisiana. He lives with his wife, Bootsie, and daughter, Alafair by a bayou where they also runs a fishing bait business. A film is being shot in the locality starring actor Elrod Sykes and his long-time companion, Kelly Drummond. When the body of a prostitute is found the finger of suspicion falls on Dave’s one-time baseball team-mate Julie ‘Baby Feet’ Balboni. Just to add a further complication, a sub-plot involving the remains of a black man, shot in the 1960’s, is also wound into the story. We know that Dave knows something about this crime, but we’re not sure what it until much later. It’s a very complicated plot so I will not go any further right now.

This film, like many set in the south, has quite a pedestrian pace. The story very slowly unfolds giving the viewer time to absorb the atmosphere surrounding it. Quite well made with quite a few twists and turns and a very complicated, and sometimes quite bizarre plot. Decent performances from all of the main cast, Tommy Lee Jones as Dave Robicheaux, John Goodman as Julie ‘Baby Feet’ Balboni, Peter Sarsgaard as Elrod Sykes, Kelly Macdonald as Kelly Drummond and the woefully underused (IMHO), Mary Steenburgen as Bootsie Robicheaux.

Now, I could cope with the slow pace, and even the slightly bizarre hallucination sequences (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen it), but I did find there was little depth to the quality of both the picture and the sound. It almost looked like one of those 1960’s or 70’s films that were mentioned in the documentary I saw. Having said that, despite the strange plot twists and slow pace, after a while it became quite a compelling watch. So, if you have the patience, recommended, otherwise, maybe give it a miss.

My score: 5.8/10

IMDb Site:
Official Site (French):

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