"That’s a beautiful child, Dave. By the time she’s 18 years old, your hair gonna be solid white – if there’s any of it left."
"I came to accept that the general, as Bootsie had said, was only a figment of my imagination, there to remind me out of the distant past that the contest is never quite over; the field never quite ours."
- Dave Robicheaux
At a glance:
Local sheriff Dave Robicheaux (Tommy Lee Jones) steadfastly pursues justice in the present and the past as he trudges through his Louisiana backwater attempting to unravel twin mysteries in this moody, deliberate, effective thriller
Our review (with spoilers):
If you lived in a small southern town in Louisiana, you would want Dave Robicheaux (Tommy Lee Jones) to be your local sheriff. Seasoned, smart, compassionate, incorruptible, and tough as nails, he treats each crime as a personal challenge to get to the truth and find the culprit – no matter who objects. He puts just as much effort into solving the current spate of grisly serial murders of young women as he does into solving the long-standing mystery of why a black man was gunned down in a bayou swamp. You might not want to be this guy’s wife and family, however – long-suffering wife Bootsie (Mary Steenburgen) begins to worry more and more as Dave’s obsession grows, his nights get longer, and the danger he places himself in multiplies.
In this unabashed starring role for Jones, he limps through every scene like a gimpy bloodhound, his sad eyes and sharp nose for crime leading him slowly and deliberately into a deeper swamp of cover-ups and lies. The film is atypically directed by Bernard Tavernier, who brings a welcome, unrushed, non-Hollywood approach to the storytelling. There’s nothing flashy here to distract from Jones’ ultra solid performance, allowing him to carry the film (with help from John Goodman, in another effective supporting role).
Rating: 3 of 4
Other reviewers said:
"Even though the film meanders a bit, the skilful direction and camerawork combine with strong acting to create an engaging, insinuating thriller"
- Rich Cline (Shadows on the Wall)