Devil in a Blue Dress
R
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -2

Ezekial Easy Rollins (Denzel Washington) needs a job desperately. He has recently relocated from Texas to California after serving in the military in World War II. As many other blacks in 1948, Easy feels Los Angeles is the land of opportunity. When a friend introduces him to Dewitt Albright (Tom Sizemore), who hires Easy to find the missing Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals), Easy eagerly tackles the job. Daphne, the fiancee of a mayoral candidate, is a frequent patron at jazz clubs and associates with black men. As Easy's search for Daphne progresses, he is drawn into a web of murder, dirty politics and blackmail. Easy calls on his friend mouse (Don Cheadle), who is faster with a gun than his brain, but saves Easy more than once. Why does Albright want Daphne? Who's killing people Daphne knows and why? The answers make for a classic 1940's-style detective film like THE MALTESE FALCON. Smoky jazz clubs, sunny neighborhoods, and corrupt politicians combine to give mystery fans an intriguing puzzle as Easy unravels the clues.

Like most films in the '40s detective genre, the story involves smoky dance clubs and heavy alcohol drinking. When her boyfriend passes out drunk, a woman suggests sex with Easy in exchange for information he needs. Easy complies, and their sexual encounter takes place on a couch, but without nudity. Deviant sexual acts are threatened and a politician is a known pedophile by his cohorts, but none of this behavior is actually shown. Daphne attempts to seduce Easy with a suggestion to search her for weapons. But the major drawback is graphic violence. Along with police administering severe blows to Easy during questioning, Easy is threatened at knifepoint and later cut while fighting a knife-wielding man. A graphic gunshot to the head is gruesome to see. Many obscenities and crudities and a few regular profanities pollute the script. It's too bad this classic style detective story uses unnecessary graphic violence, obscenities and a sex scene to move it along. Sam Spade got along without them.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Distributor: Columbia-TriStar Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd,, Culver City, CA 90232

Summary
Crude Language: Many (38) times - Mild 27, Moderate 11
Obscene Language: Many (12) times - F-word 1, s-word 7, other 4
Profanity: Several (8) times - Regular 4 (GD), Exclamatory 4,
Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (gun and knife threats; hits with gun, blackjack, club, fist; bloody body; graphic knife cut, gunshots to shoulder, neck and head; abusive police)
Sexual Intercourse: Once without nudity (reference to sex with children; deviant sex proposed)
Nudity: None but near nudity few times (woman's blouse open, female rear nudity in painting)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (woman talks suggestively to man; reference to sex; woman asks man search her; casual sex condoned)
Drug Abuse: Cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol use
Other: Police racially prejudiced; ethnic slurs
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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