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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Miami Blues (1990)

A criminal psychopath (Alec Baldwin) just out of prison arrives in Florida. He's barely off the plane before he begins his crime spree including murder. But when he robs a police detective (Fred Ward) of his gun and badge, he uses it to pose as a police officer which makes things easier for him. Based on the novel by Charles Willeford, it is one of several novels featuring the detective Hoke Moseley played here by Ward. As directed by George Armitage (who also wrote the screenplay), this black comedy of a crime thriller is unique. You're never quite sure where it's going so your interest is piqued right from the beginning. But Armitage's script allows for detailed characterizations and the three leads (Jennifer Jason Leigh is the third) step up to the plate giving expert performances. If the film belongs to anyone, it's Jason Leigh who gives a sensational performance as a not too bright hooker. What's especially satisfying is how she doesn't condescend to her character for a minute (like say, Karen Black in FIVE EASY PIECES), she just inhabits her truthfully. Tak Fujimoto's colorful lensing is rich with Miami atmosphere. With Obba Babatunde, Paul Gleason, Nora Dunn, Shirley Stoler, Charles Napier, Bobo Lewis and Martine Beswick. 

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