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22 user 10 critic

Brown's Requiem (1998)

Recovering alcoholic, ex-LAPD, private detective Fritz Brown, is hired by caddie "Fat Dog" to follow his kid sister, who is holed up with an old sugar daddy. The trail leads to his old police boss Cathcart, and the bodies start to pile up.

Director:

Jason Freeland

Writers:

Jason Freeland, James Ellroy (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Rooker ... Fritz Brown
Big Daddy Wayne Big Daddy Wayne ... Leotis McCarver
Jack Wallace ... Bud Myers
Will Sasso ... Fat Dog (as William Sasso)
Selma Blair ... Jane
Harold Gould ... Solly K
Brion James ... Cathcart
Kevin Corrigan ... Walter
Ron Barker Ron Barker ... Bartender
William Newman ... Augie
David Labiosa ... Henry Cruz
Al Rodrigo ... Sandoval
Lisa Koch Lisa Koch ... Lulu
Barry Newman ... Jack Skolnick
Lee Weaver ... Wino
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Storyline

Fritz Brown is an ex-LAPD, recovering alcoholic who now splits his time repossessing cars for a used car lot and staffing his one-man private detective agency. When a filthy caddie named Freddy "Fat Dog" Baker wanders into Fritz's office one day, flashing a wad of cash, Fritz is hired to follow Fat Dog's kid sister Jane, who is holed up with a Beverly Hills sugar daddy named Sol Kupferman. Kupferman is a 70 year-old bag man for the mob, and Fat Dog claims that "Solly K" is up to something evil that may harm Jane. The trail leads Fritz to an encounter with his dark past in the person of Haywood Cathcart, current head of LAPD internal affairs and the person who kicked Fritz off the police force. But what is Cathcart doing in business with a mobster? And why is Jane shacked up with a man old enough to be her grandfather? Fritz starts asking some questions, and the answers are all bad news. Fritz finds himself back on Haywood Cathcart's short list, and as the bodies start to pile up ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In L.A., The Law Is Still For Sale.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 June 1999 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Brown's dilemma See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,077, 27 February 2000

Gross USA:

$3,077
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The beer bar "Fat Dog" (Will Sasso) uses as his contact point, "Rustic Inn", is a real bar in Los Angeles, called Ye Rustic Inn. It was not altered for the film in any way. It was perfect as a low-life sleazy-underbelly-of-the-city-hangout. Kiefer Sutherland, Robert Pattinson, and Kristen Stewart have been spotted there. See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks- ALYSSA, ISAAC & MIRABELLE See more »

Connections

References The Dudley Do-Right Show (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Thunderstorms And Neon Signs
Written & Performed by Wayne Hancock
(Ten Ten Tunes)
Courtesy of Ark 21 Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fantastic adaptation of a great book
15 July 1999 | by capagliaSee all my reviews

During the London Film Festival it's difficult to do much reading at all, but there are compensations. Adrian Wooton is the new director of the festival, and he brings a deep love of crime movies to it. So it's no surprise that Brown's Requiem should be one of the centrepieces of the two-week reelathon.

Brown's Requiem is the third feature film based on an Ellroy book. James Harris' Cop, with James Woods in the title role was based on Blood On The Moon, and last year's LA Confidential shot Ellroy into the mega bigtime of properties who are muy caliente.

First time director Jason Freeland's is probably the first of these films to set out to be a faithful adaptation of Ellroy. Fans of the Demon Dog will argue forever about the fidelity of LA Confidential, whether in spirit or in look, but close as it stays to Ellroy's basic story, Brown's Requiem brings a neo-noir sensibility to Ellroy which gives it an interesting spin of it's own.

Freeland encountered Ellroy listening to one of his patented manic interviews on the radio in LA, and decided to start at the beginning with his books. When he thought he was ready to adapt Ellroy for the screen, he found Brown's Requiem was the only property available, in the post-LA Confidential rush to option his work.

The two biggest changes Freeland does make are both beneficial. First he changes the female lead from a woman who gets involved with Fritz Brown to a younger girl who doesn't. This is both more realistic, given Brown's personality (truer to the real Brown than even Ellroy was!) and it also provides a better plot motivation, particularly in encouraging Brown's fantasies of being the white knight, and theoretically a more shocking hook (which sadly is somewhat dissipated).

Second he loses the musical sub-text by which Fritz Brown and Bruckner combine to make him a sensitive tragihero. This was a bit too literary a conceit, and one which Ellroy soon abandoned in his own writing. Only at the end of the film, where Brown gives his friend Hank an imaginary Viking funeral, do we get a hit of that grandiose dream.

Neo-noire puts its emphasis on the dumbo nature of its would-be heroes. Michael Rooker, as Fritz Brown, is a cross somewhere between John Malkovich and Woody Harrelson on the intensity meter, and if occasionally he remains too sure, and too strong, his physical presence is always undercut by a knowing voice-over narration. Freeland has done an excellent job casting other roles: there are welcome cameos for Valerie Perrine (excellent in bringing depth to a brief part), Barry Newman, and Brad Dourif.

Also impressive is 23 year old William Sasso, as 'Fat Dog', who sets the story in motion, and who is, to my mind, the Ellroy figure in this book (and movie). Freeland admitted this was a tough part to cast: agents told him repeatedly "my client isn't fat, he's big." Sasso leaps into the part with such vigour it's a shame he can't carry a bigger load. This highlights the soft spot of this film: in following out the plot, Freeland has to short change some of the supporting cast. In the same way we only get hints of the incestuous cesspool lurking under the story, so things like Brown's relationship with Hank is never really given the depth to carry the force of Brown's final regrets. This, however, is a small criticism of an assured first feature film. Freeland has the feel, and an excellent score by Cynthia Millar helps build the emotional tension. This is an adaptation of Ellroy which will surely please fans of the books. (taken from crime time 2.3, p. 175-176...Michael Carlson).


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