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Devil in a Blue Dress (1995, Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore)

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‘You said don’t shoot him, right? Well I didn’t. I strangled him. If you didn’t want me to kill him, why did you leave me alone with him?’ So says the cold-blooded Mouse (Don Cheadle) to his acquaintance Easy Rawlins (Denzel Washington) in a line which captures the charms of this cool, smart film noir by acclaimed director Carl Franklin. Fans of cult novelist Walter Mosley won’t be disappointed by this faithful adaptation which even managed to spawn a new film genre, black noir .

The setting is Los Angeles, 1948. Ezekial ‘Easy’ Rawlins has just lost his job and needs money, fast. After meeting the mysterious Dewitt Albright (Tom Sizemore) in a blacks-only bar, he agrees to try and find the white fiancee of mayoral candidate Todd Carter (Terry Kinney). Little is known about Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals) except that she has a penchant for blue dresses and black men – hence the decision to hire Rawlins. However, two days, two corpses and a beating at the local police station later, Easy’s not so sure how much he really needs the $100 fee. He summons reinforcements in the shape of old friend Mouse – who manages to combine charm with shocking displays of brutality – and the two men slowly start to unravel a twisted tale involving political corruption, racism and good old-fashioned greed in the City of Angels.

production details
USA | 102 minutes | 1995
Director: Carl Franklin
Writer: Carl Franklin, based on Walter Mosley’s novel.

cast
Denzel Washington as Ezekiel ‘Easy’ Rawlins
Tom Sizemore as DeWitt Albright
Jennifer Beals as Daphne Monet
Don Cheadle as Mouse Alexander
Maury Chaykin as Matthew Terell
Terry Kinney as Todd Carter
Mel Winkler as Joppy
Albert Hall as Degan Odell
Lisa Nicole Carson as Coretta James
Jernard Burks as Dupree Brouchard
David Fonteno as Junior Fornay

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