A college professor's day: his top student allegedly commits suicide, his wife presents him with divorce papers and he overnights in a freshman girl's dorm. The next day: more murders around him. Will he find the killer in time?
Set in New Orleans. Remy McSwain, lieutenant in Homicide finds that he has two problems, the first of a series of gang killings and Ann Osborne, a beautiful attorney from the D.A.'s police corruption task force in his office. He begins a relationship with her as the killings continue only to have charges filed against him for accepting bribes as he stumbles on a police corruption Sting. While this is happening, the criminals insist that none of the crime gangs are behind the killings.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
The orchestral music playing on the stereo while Anne is on the phone is from the fourth act of Giacomo Puccini's "Manon Lescaut", which takes place on an arid plain just outside New Orleans. See more »
When Ann, Remy, and his four family members meet in the PD garage to serve the search warrant, all four of the uniformed officers are wearing their hats as they begin to enter the station. But, when the shot changes to the interior, none of the officers has a hat at all. See more »
While the UK theatrical release ends with the boat exploding, a fade out and cutting to Remy and Anne dancing around on their wedding night, the UK video release has an extra scene which features Anne talking Remy out of resigning and Remy proposing marriage. See more »
A good cop, who has allowed his principles to be compromised once too often, has it catch up with him amid allegations of internal corruption and what appears to be an impending war between the criminal elements of New Orleans, in 'The Big Easy,' directed by Jim McBride. Dennis Quaid stars as Remy McSwain, an eleven year veteran of the New Orleans Police Department, who from the day he joined the force learned that the 'perks' that went along with the job were all just a natural, acceptable part of the way things are done in the city they call The Big Easy. It's just the way it is; and all is well until Assistant District Attorney, Anne Osborne (Ellen Barkin), shows up one day, and becomes inordinately concerned with a recent 'wise guy' murder Remy is investigating. And it isn't long before things start to get a bit sticky for Remy and a few others who suddenly find themselves caught with their fingers in the cookie jar. But there are indications that something is going down at the precinct that is somewhat more serious than the penny-ante graft apparently being enjoyed by a number of New Orleans' finest, and Osborne's job is to get to the bottom of it. Remy, however, doesn't buy the idea that there are 'dirty' cops amongst his own, and quickly puts some moves on Anne to find out what she thinks she knows. And it starts him off along a path which, before it's over, he may wish he hadn't opted to tread.
From the opening credits, as McBride takes you aloft and opens up his camera for a thrilling shot of the bayous and countryside rushing by below (backed by the blood stirring zydeco music that drives the entire film), he saturates the story with an atmosphere that brings New Orleans to life. And the vibrant sights and sounds of the city (including the engaging Creole dialects), are so richly textured that the city itself becomes as much an integral part of the story as many of the characters. As Remy would say in greeting, with his best prepossessing grin in place, 'Where you at, chere?'
And though the story itself is nothing especially original, the lively presentation and the mood McBride sets, as well as some unique characterizations and that special sense of time and place he captures, make it all seem fresh and new. The zydeco music, alone, is a treat and-- like the city-- is something of a character in itself.
Quaid fairly oozes Southern charm as the irrepressible Remy, a guy secure with his world and sure of his place in it. He's obstinate and self-assured, but without being pretentious, which makes it easy to like him. The natural fluidity of his distinct mannerisms and speech give his performance a ring of authenticity that makes Remy very real and entirely believable-- which, of course, adds credibility to the story. The character is a good fit for Quaid, and he definitely makes the most of it.
Barkin does a good job, as well, as Anne, employing her trademark crooked smile to great effect, and she has a genuine chemistry with Quaid that works well for the story. She brings a decided definition to her character, making Anne a woman who is strong without being overconfident, and not immune to vulnerability; it's her very humanness, in fact, that make her so accessible. It's a well rounded performance that allows you to see beneath the facade of the professional cop doing her job, to the very real person within. Barkin plays it all very well, and lets you know that there's more to Anne than meets the eye.
Notable in supporting roles are Grace Zabriskie, as Remy's mother, and Charles Ludlam as Lamar Parmentel. Their performances are great examples of the value of a good character actor, and the significant impact they can have on a film. Far too often they go unnoticed and unappreciated.
The supporting cast includes Ned Beatty (Jack), John Goodman (Andre), Lisa Jane Persky (McCabe), Ebbe Roe Smith (Ed), Tom O'Brien (Bobby), Marc Lawrence (Vinnie the Cannon) and Solomon Burke (Daddy Mention). Like a good bowl of spicy gumbo, 'The Big Easy' packs a wallop and will give you a good helping of satisfying entertainment, well worth the two bucks or so you plunk down for it. And by the time it's over, you'll be calling people 'chere' and fighting the urge to strap a washboard to your chest. So, hey-- where you at? It's the magic of the movies, chere. I rate this one 8/10.
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