The most important party of the Savannah Christmas season ends with a bang! When affable host Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey) shoots a man to death. The party is over, the mystery begins. Director Clint Eastwood weaves murder, mystery and voodoo into a sumptuous adaptation of the John Berendt bestseller based on true events. Spacey and John Cusack as a journalist drawn to Savannah's decadence and eccentrics lead a nimble cast that includes Jack Thompson, Alison Eastwood and The Lady Chablis.
Sultry Deep South Courtroom Drama with Stellar Cast
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil review by PV
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You rated this film: 4
The first thing to say about this movie is that it's directed by Clint Eastwood - which means it's too long (all his movies are).
The second thing is that it's based on a novel, thank goodness, so not even Clint can ruin it.
Thirdly, it has a stellar cast: Kevin Spacey, John Cusack and Jude Law doing a perfectly impression of a southern white trash hustler. Despite the big names, the real-life drag queen steals the show - Lady Chablis or something. You can tell s/he's not an actor, and all the better for it - s/he plays real life, but we are all on a stage and are merely players playing roles, after all.
It's slow to start with and THERE ARE NO SUBTITLES or options at the start - the movie just starts. Subtitles would have been useful even for the non-deaf coz of all the deep south accents.
The addition of a supernatural very black deep South theme and requisite crazy lady seems as though it won't work but it does - maybe because the Deep South culture - sultry, backwards, heavy with history - is so different and alien from the context of most US-set movies.
The ending - well, no spoilers. But personally I don't think it was necessary - but anyway.
Best of all is the music - they visit the house of lyricist Johnny Mercer's great grandfather in the movie, and most songs are from 30s, 40s, 50s and co-written by him, which is damn clever! Great songs too - Skylark and many others.
All in all, a slow burner of a movie BUT if you're in the right mood and have patience, this is really a very good watch. 4 stars.