Film Review: Miami Blues (1990)

in #aaalast year


Miami, city that became “cool” in 1980s, was also home to highly regarded crime novelist Charles Willeford. It was also the setting of his series of hard-boiled novels featuring police detective Hoke Moseley. Miami Blues, first of them, was adapted in eponymous 1990 film, written and directed by George Armitage.

The film begins when career criminal Frederick J. Frenger Jr. (played by Alec Baldwin) arrives to Miami after spending many years in prison. He is a sociopath who often acts impulsively, whether it is a theft, taking other people’s identities or violence. Immediately after coming to airport, he breaks finger of overenthusiastic Hare Krishna missionary, which leads to man’s death from shock, that would be investigated by grizzled homicide detective Sgt. Hoke Moseley (played by Fred Ward). In the meantime, Frenger takes hotel room under assumed name and orders a prostitute. She is Susie Waggoner (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh), young and not particularly bright woman who prostitutes herself in order to pay for community college. Frenger is nevertheless attracted to her and two of them begin living together. Moseley gets on Frenger’s trail, but Frenger turns tables on him, assaulting him in his hotel room and stealing his gun, badge and, most humiliatingly, dentures. Frenger begins pretending that he is a policeman in order to opportunistically rob people, while telling Susie that he yearns for quiet domestic life and that his criminal career would come at the end. Moseley, on the other hand, gets determined to take Frenger down, and, after recovering from his injuries, begins long search on the streets of the city.

Miami Blues was produced by Jonathan Demme, film maker whose career at the time had been still associated with comedies. At times, this film, made by Demme’s old friend and associate George Armitage, looks like it could be a comedy, albeit of slightly darker variety. This is especially so in the scenes featuring Fred Ward, who plays almost parodical version of jaded detective who uses his unkempt and unattractive look almost as a badge of honour. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with scenes featuring Alec Baldwin, who plays violent and seemingly charming psychopath well, but whose actions are at odds with humorous character of the film. Miami Bluesalso features scenes of extreme violence, which include mutilations, and that might be unpleasant for more sensitive segments of the audience. The anchor that keeps film together is Jennifer Jason Leigh who is very good in playing attractive yet naive character who would ultimately see the error of her ways and discard her illusions. Armitage makes the solid job as director, while cinematographer Tak Fujimoto insists on daytime scenes that somehow fail to make Miami look as “cool” as in Miami Vice. There are also some subplots and characters, like corrupt vice detective played by Paul Gleason, who seem redundant. Miami Blues is nevertheless watchable and modestly entertaining film that could be recommended to audience with lowered expectations.

RATING: 5/10 (++)

Blog in Croatian
Blog in English
Leofinance blog
Cent profile
Minds profile
Uptrennd profile

Unstoppable Domains:
Bitcoin Lightning HIVE donations:
Rising Star game:

BTC donations: 1EWxiMiP6iiG9rger3NuUSd6HByaxQWafG
ETH donations: 0xB305F144323b99e6f8b1d66f5D7DE78B498C32A7

Movie URL:
Critic: AA

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.18
TRX 0.09
JST 0.025
BTC 27983.22
ETH 1733.67
USDT 1.00
SBD 2.35