In the Electric Mist (2009) Poster

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Tommy Lee nails the part
warren-ripley8 March 2009
Tommy Lee Jones has either read Burke's books or he is really that good. Unlike Alec Baldwin's Robicheaux in "Heaven's Prisoners" Jones has the complex nature of Robicheaux's personality down. Jones can deliver on the character's contrasting moods -- the sensitivity of his care for others versus the fire of his smoldering anger. Good flick. No stupid CGI tricks, no political correctness, just a good old fashioned crime mystery with a very riveting main character. There are some unresolved elements regarding the Goodman and Beatty parts but the dogged pursuit of the criminal element by Jones is worth the price of admission. I've read all of Burke's books and this is as close as anyone is going to get to myriad aspects of Dave Robicheaux's tortured soul. Burke fans disappointed by "Heaven's Prisoners" should see this one.
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Excellently cast; and well-acted, directed, and photographed
rangeriderr8 April 2012
There aren't too many movies where you find that each and every actor seems realistic, without overplaying his or her part. I definitely have a bias towards moody, dark Louisiana movies with psychotic killers and corruption. This movie has all the virtues of that genre. Tommy Lee Jones is excellent as a worn-out, aging, alcoholic detective (on the wagon) who has a strong moral sense, but cuts corners when he deems it necessary.

John Goodman is so versatile that I didn't recognize him as the same actor who was in The Big Lebowski which I had watched only the day before. The script was so adept that they handled the issues of race relations in what I considered a realistic manner without any preaching. The settings, whether swamps at night, Southern mansions, broken down shacks, or merely country scenery all seemed highly realistic. The editing was excellent. Thus, the timing of most scenes was just right, so there wasn't the problem of boredom.

The only reason I gave the movie an 8 rather than a 10 is that it suffered from too much mumbled dialogue, so you have to be willing to live with about 25% of dialogue shooting past you (unless perhaps you are from "Loozyana"), and perhaps missing some of the relationships between people early on. However, while this meant that you might miss out on some of the subtleties, the story is not that fast moving and complex that it warrants bypassing the movie, given all its virtues.
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Aweome Adaptation
dfgrayb15 March 2009
Why this movie went straight to DVD is beyond me. The mood is pure southern Gothic, the acting is terrific, and the story is complicated and sad.

The performances were dead on. TLJ hits Dave Robicheaux on the button. But the best is Mary Steenburgen as Bootsie. She really nails this part.

The story is about a Cajun cop who is haunted by his own demons, and by the demons he faces in his work as an Iberia Parish Deputy. The characters he meets in trying to solve the murders are so true to life that you wonder if the people playing the parts were really actors. John Goodman is great, as usual, as is Ned Beatty.

While a good old fashion murder mystery awaits you, what is more important, as it is in the novels by James Lee Burke, is the story of Robicheaux. He is a man who has a strong moral code, yet is violent, alcoholic, and continually puts his family in danger. The complexity of his character is difficult to portray, but TLJ does it better than anyone else could.

It is a fine, beautiful movie. Now if only another movie could be made that also includes Clete Purcell, one of the best sidekicks ever written in a mystery novel series.
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That Authentic Cajun Atmosphere
Lechuguilla15 May 2009
A no-nonsense cop named "Robicheaux" (pronounced Roba-shaw, and well played by Tommy Lee Jones) is on a case involving the murders of several local prostitutes. At the same time, Robicheaux is haunted by a decades-old killing of a Black man whose remains are found in a swamp by a member of a film crew shooting a movie. So the twin questions are ... who is responsible for the murders of the prostitutes, and is there a link between these murders and the long-ago killing of the Black man?

Set in modern day South Louisiana, near New Orleans, "In The Electric Mist" absolutely drips with authentic Cajun atmosphere. The place names, the rustic look of old frame houses, the backwater bayous with lush vegetation, those wonderful Louisiana accents, the outdoor barbecue at a plantation house ... You feel like you're really there, in that place. It's the best element of the film, by far.

The film's casting and acting are quite good. And the music is terrific. At the end credits the song played is the haunting "La Terre Tremblante", with its mystical-Blues sound and French lyrics. The song is straight out of Cajun country, and it is mesmerizing.

Unfortunately, the film's plot is muddled. Editing is terrible. And the film's ending is very unsatisfying. My understanding is that the film went through some serious post-production issues, the most significant being the deletion of a number of scenes. These deletions may account for plot problems associated with choppy flow and lack of clarity.

Even so, "In The Electric Mist" is still worth watching, not so much for the story or plot as for the evocative Cajun atmosphere and that terrific music.
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Atmospheric, Moody Drama with Crime as Only Part of Context
critic-fanspot8 March 2009
Filled with bayou atmosphere, the film follows Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux as he sorts through two cases that tie together past and present, history and future, black and white, rich and poor. The cultural tension that permeates the movie creates the backdrop for a psychological crime drama whose suspense comes primarily from the personal conflict of Robicheaux. The crime action itself serves more to buffet the lead character on his internal journey than to create an action-heavy thrill-ride.

In the Electric Mist is rich in atmosphere, and that is perhaps its strongest point. All aspects of the film-making process come together to drive home the feeling of the Lousiana bayou, from the detailed sets to the slow pace to the contrast between the simmering intensity of the true Louisiana folks with the outlandish extroversion of the outsiders and the locals who have been won over by Hollywood culture. It is a movie best experienced with your full attention.

There is a strong sense of suspense in the film, but it is delivered through tragedy and the search for resolution, not high action. While Tommy Lee Jones delivers the sort of performance one might expect and there are certainly plenty of thriller mainstay elements, this is not an action piece, an in intrigue, or a intricate mystery. If you cannot get invested in the tension of a complicated shades-of-grey lead character and his search for answers to questions that may not e fully expressed, the suspense will likely escape you and you will be left with a slow movie with an unsurprising plot. And if you cannot get absorbed into the play of contrasts and dialectics within the fabric of the rural Louisiana cultural fabric, you probably find the message trite, the ending too neat, and some of the performances (e.g., John Goodman as Baby Feet Balboni) as over-the-top and distracting. But if you can allow yourself to experience the film through Jones' Robicheaux, you will find yourself sharing his internal conflict, delighting in bright spots of energy like Alana Locke's Alafair, and clinging to a misty hope for resolution.
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Better than it's being rated
maurice_8415 March 2009
First, there's the great French director, Tavernier, who made many films Americans missed. But at least most remember "'Round Midnight,'" an amazingly done jazz film with the late Dexter Gordon. Then there are the great actors, from Tommy Lee (who did indeed "nail" Robicheaux), but also Ned Beatty, Mary Steenburgen (who made the ordinary character of Bootsie bearable), the other great director John Sayles (as a director,of course) and countless lesser known character actors. The production values are superb. I've read most of Burke's novels and the sets of Dave's house, the dives he visits, the bayou, all of it are exactly as I'd imagined. The writing is good and I don't get why people think the story is confusing. But there is one major flaw (for me) that rankles. Why cast musicians (Levon Helm, Buddy Guy) in roles that really need strong acting? Helm was a great drummer for The Band, but I've never seen him act with much conviction. And the character of the dead Confederate general requires strength. Hal Holbrook would have been perfect. Then there's Buddy Guy, a great Chicago blues man, but he's no actor. He seemed almost to be reading most of his lines from off camera in one scene.

You cannot put strong actors in the same scenes with weak ones. But good actors together can make a scene--witness the last confrontation between Tommy Lee's Robicheaux and Ned Beatty's Lemoyne.

So, solid direction, much strong acting, faithful to the book, great sets and setting, all brought lower by some bad casting. Still, I think this one deserves more respect, especially compared to many of this year's "Oscar worthy" films.
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Enjoyed it, but missing a few things
tommythecat27 March 2009
I read the book last summer and was anxious to see the film. If you did not read the book you might find things confusing. Unfortunately they did not expand on the mystical episodes that Elrod and Dave have regarding the confederate soldiers and how Elrod stays with Dave for a time and the really confusing part on how Dave was shot outside the club by the "dead" woman. In all, it followed the book and was very well acted, but it left too many important "book" parts out. Tommy Lee Jones was great and I think he made a terrific Dave, but I'm sorry they didn't show more of Peter Sarsgaard; he's such a terrific actor and in the book his character is as "insightful" regarding the confederate soldiers as Dave. If you read the book before watching the movie, you'll get it. I really enjoyed the movie.
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a thriller in the swamps
dromasca3 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Some films deserve a better fate. This is in my opinion the case with 'In the Electric Mist' which is totally unknown to most of the cinema fans because it seems to not having been released in cinema theaters in the US. This is a very hard to understand decision, as this is a much better than the average detective movies, better than many other similar films released around that date, it's well acted, beautifully filmed, directed by a well-known French director (Bertrand Tavernier) and with supreme star Tommy Lee Jones as lead actor. What do I know about the art of film distribution, though? Probably not too much.

The story is set in the swamps of Louisiana and features detective David Robicheaux which some may remember as having been played by Alec Baldwin in Heaven's Prisoner more than a decade before this film was made (the character is inspired by the same series of novels). The atmosphere of the Cajun country with its fogs and smells, legends and collection of unique characters makes for a good background for mysteries and hidden secrets and Tavernier makes a good use of it in a way that predicts Beasts of the Southern Wild. Nobody is surprised when generals and soldiers from the Civil War fought more than a century before show up from behind the fogs, and the phantoms of the older conflicts of race and class mix with the personal daemons the heroes have to face.

Watching Tommy Lee Jones playing the justice-driven detective (although his means are not always really orthodox) is always a pleasure, and to a large extent the film relies on him. He is helped by an excellent supporting cast, with John Goodman featuring as one of the lead bad guys, and Mary Steenburgen as the classy wife of Robicheaux. While the script does not really close perfectly every corner of the story, there is cursive story telling in the style of the big detective American novels of the 40s, and the heroes have the same naive faith that the good cause of justice is worth risking everything to have it prevail. Bertrand Tavernier has filmed with European lens a very American story in a very American landscape, and despite the relative low-key ending (maybe the weak part of the movie) it's a good film to look for and watch.
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Good film
artzau13 March 2009
I can count on my fingers with half my hand cut away the number of times I've ever been disappointed by Tommy Lee Jones's performance in a film. This film here is no exception. John Goodman is another who always delivers a solid performance and they both give us a great show. The writing of the script is solid and the setting of the film is provoking. The entire film works well with support from veteran character actors like Ned Beatty, craggy faced James Gammon and ex-drummer Levon Helm, as well as younger performers like Mary Steenburgen, Justina Machado,Kelly Macdonald and the up and coming Peter Sargaard.

One might argue that this kind of a role is almost type casting for Tommy Lee Jones but I would argue otherwise. An actor works with what he has and TLJ has always been able to use his face to great advantage from a stone-cold glare to a sheepish grin. The story is told from his character's point of view, in this case, a person with an uncompromising sense of justice-- not a paragon of virtue, by any means, but one who refuses to sacrifice his principles of right and wrong, i.e., the hero with a decidedly human face. The tension does not let up as the hunt draws closer and closer to the conclusion. While I think the little coda at the end was unneeded, it still works to make a good story.
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Fantastic adaptation of the James Lee Burke, Dave Robicheaux Series!
jaredlallatin4 January 2009
I have been a long time fan of the writing of James Lee Burke. When they made Heaven's Prisoners into a movie I was disappointed with the finished product. So was everyone else and they didn't make any more of his books into films. I was glad to see that now, years later, they have decided to make another film. The casting is excellent and the story telling is true to the book. Tommy Lee Jones plays the main character about as well as I could imagine anyone playing Dave. I hope the movie is received with good reviews because I would love to see more of the series made into films. I highly recommend this excellent film to anyone. I think that James Lee Burke fans would be pleased, as well as people unfamiliar with the books. See this movie!!! It does not disappoint. The only thing I wish they had done, was make a movie out of one of the books that has Clete Purcel as a main character. I would love to see Black Cherry Blues made into a movie. I just think it would be hard to cast Clete. Maybe that character is too big for the silver screen.
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C'est huh?
jimimoe-125 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I liked watching the movie, but i didn't like the movie. Why? I really enjoyed the bayou scenery, the cinematographic landscapes, a different cinematic tempo, and of course Tommy Lee. All were pleasantries in a world of crap films that abound. BUT, and here is the kicker... what just happened in the last 2 hours? At every turn the story is dished out like patchy comic book with no flow to the plot. Though i loved the tempo of the shots there was no meat on these bones... and other than tommy lee and the daughter, no other characters (except the cop with the mosquito/bat joke) left anything for us to hold on to or want to see more of. Plot wise i felt tossed from one awkward portrayal of some event or person to the next, each scene consistently lacking something important. Just as some French flicks can end, leaving you hanging like an abrupt slice of life does, this film felt like that the whole way through but not at the end! In some ways it flowed like Jules and Jim, and i can't put my finger on why i draw this distant similarity. But in the Electric Mist, the question, "what's the point?" was a recurring theme for me in the details and dialogs. Even though i felt kidnapped and tossed in the back of a van for a lot the film, being lost just really didn't matter, because we are spoon fed the step-by-step details of the choppy simple plot which left me feeling like all the details and the plot superfluously and inanely added up to very little by the end. You see, you ultimately get to the end, and i got there with a lingering "huh?". Again, don't watch this for the plot or the attempt at mystery, there is neither. Don't expect the thriller or action it tries to be, or even to be engaged by any deep social commentary, it fell short on all these too. Watch it to get out of the rut and repetition of Hollywood, and into some beautiful bayou through some French eyes with the ever enjoyable Tommy Lee as captivating guide who pulls off some good small town tough sheriff moments.
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Tragic, Beautiful and Impacting
I stumbled blindly onto this on Netflix, saw it had Tommy Lee Jones in it and figured I enjoy just about anything he touches. Low and behold, I was delightful impressed by this.

This tragic story about a detective investigating a murder is just pure intensity. But it's not action film intensity, it's the intensity of the pursuit of justice. So much unfortunate murders, innocents forced and the power brokers not caring about anyone else but themselves and their own fortune.

There are only a few shows I've watched where I felt like I could feel what it's like to be in the part of the country where it was filmed, and this is without a doubt one of them. The deep, dark, sultry bowels of Louisiana. Stunning landscapes, intense humidity, mosquito's almost as big as the ones in Northern Minnesota, just breathtaking location filming. Moody without being over-dramatic, enriching and intricate plot and story.

This may have been an accidental find, but I'm sure glad I stumbled onto it. Wonderful movie, highly recommended.
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I'm gonna skate and your gonna help me!
sol-kay7 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** After some ten years after he first appeared on the screen back in 1996 in "Heaven's Prisoner" recovering alcoholic lawman Officer Dave Robicheaux, Tommy Lee Jones, gets on an unsolved murder case that he himself witnessed back in 1965 when he was just 17 years old.

In was back in the summer of 1965 that escaped black fugitive Dewitt Prejean, Chukwuma Onwuchekw, was gunned down in the Atchafalaya swamp by two perusing correction officers. Prejean's body was found some 43 years later when a motion picture company was making a Civil War film in and around the swamp. The person who found Prejean's remains was the star of the film actor Elrod Sykes, Peter Sarsgaard, who later had the misfortune of being stopped, while driving drunk, by Officer Robicheaux! In trying to talk Officer Robicheaux in not giving him a ticket Sykes, who was also driving with a suspended license, told him about what he found in the swamp and a light blob lit up in the lawman's head! Robicheaux witnessed Prejean's murder!

The film "The Electric Mist" has two stories interconnecting with each other in it. That includes the Pregean murder back in 1965 and a number of local hooker killings some 40 years later in the same general area; The Iberian Perish deep in the Louisiana Bayous. What connects these two crimes is that the person, or persons, responsible for them have something to do with the Civil War movie that's being made there in the almost impassable Atchafalaya Swamp!

The film leaves a lot of things up in the air in what's, and who's, behind the serial murders and even when it's over we never really know who the killer is. Officer Robicheaux's brutal and illegal methods in tracking down the elusive killer makes him anything but likable to the audience. The killer himself is always a step ahead of Robicheaux and even implicates the lawman as well as his FBI partner Agent Rosie Gomez,Justina Machado,in having them do his dirty work for him. We also have Officer Robicheaux get help in solving the hooker killings from an unexpected source! Civil War Confederate General John Bell Hood, Levon Holm. It was when Robicheaux got smashed by someone in a local bar slipping him a Mickey Finn, in his glass of Doctor Pepper, that he was able to conjure up the long dead general who gave him the clues to solve the murders.

The reformed and elderly, he's almost 60 years old in the movie, alcoholic lawman Robicheaux was a bit unbelievable in his being able to take on and beat silly people twice as big and half his age in the film. Even so Robicheaux's brutal tactics didn't bring in any results in having a number of key witness to the hooker murders end up dead because of them. As for the 43 year old mystery of who murdered Dewitt Prejean the film, including Robicheaux and those who murdered him, seemed to have almost completely forgot about it!
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It works
RNQ28 August 2010
I've just seen the 117 minute version, and it works. People seeing this on DVD should check that they have this longer version. The complaint is that the movie is incoherent, but in fact as well as crime movies do; all layers are brought pretty well together. The mousetrap snaps. Meanwhile, beyond a noir of earlier days, there is an attempt to deal with crimes both old and fresh, and a dramatization of a detective's inner debate through his projection of a Confederate Army general. And some of his troops--there is froth in details, as there is with the manner and antics of "Baby Feet" (John Goodman) and even his automobile. Froth in excess is that a detective, even if he is played by Tommy Lee Jones, should smash the faces of persons he is interrogating. For planted evidence, see the last scenes. There is what movie rating calls "language," all for the better.
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Bertrand Tavernier does just fine with Dave Robicheaux. So does Tommy Lee Jones
Terrell-46 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
First there's a mess of bone and gristle, wrapped in a chain and uncovered in a Louisiana bayou by Katrina. It's what's left of a black man who was shot down 40 years ago. Maybe he'd been messin' around with a white woman.

There's Cherry LeBlanc, a beautiful young girl on the game, sellin' her jellyroll. She'd been cut and eviscerated.

There's the dead girl they found stuffed in a barrel a few weeks ago who now has blue crabs crawling all over her. The coroner will only be able to get her out of that barrel in pieces.

And there's Dave Robicheaux, a cop in New Iberia, an alcoholic who hasn't yet fallen off the wagon, a Viet Nam vet, a tough man saddled with a conscience and a sense of morality who sometimes does righteous and violent things. "In the ancient world," Dave tells us, "people placed heavy stones on the graves of their dead so their souls would not wander and afflict the living. I always thought this was just the practice of superstitious and primitive people. But I was about to learn that the dead can hover on the edge of our vision with the density and luminosity of mist...and their claim on the earth can be as legitimate and tenacious as our own."

Don't let anyone tell you that In the Electric Mist isn't a very good movie, especially if you're fond of James Lee Burke's series of books featuring Robicheaux and the Cajun country of southern Louisiana. Dave (Tommy Lee Jones) is going to find himself searching for a serial killer who needs to cut prostitutes, and he's tormented by what was uncovered in that bayou. When Dave was a little boy he saw the shooting but not who did it. Forty years later he's going to find out who did it and why.

Bertrand Tavernier, the director, is going to take us on a journey into bayou Louisiana centered around New Iberia parish where the conditions of life haven't changed much for a lot of people. Along the way we're going to meet all kinds of characters, and this is one of the movie's strengths. Dave may have a good marriage to a strong woman (Mary Steenburgen), but there's also that childhood friend who now is the sociopath Julie "Baby Feet' Balboni (played with great, vicious style by John Goodman). Feets is back in New Iberia because he's backing a movie being filmed nearby. There are aging good ol' boys and blacks who respect Dave but know when to be cautious. There's his daughter Alafair and even a couple of movie stars, Elrod Sykes (Peter Sarsgard) and Kelly Drummond (Kelly Macdonald). There are bayous thick with mosquitoes and trees heavy with moss. The dialogue is pungent and sounds natural. There's even Confederate General John Bell Hood who Dave finds himself talking to now and then. For most of the time, In the Electric Mist is a moody, sometimes vivid, occasionally violent story that has more to do with characters and relationships than murders.

This is Tommy Lee Jones' movie. He's in almost every scene. He provides the occasional narrative. His introspective discussions with Hood give us insights to his conflicts (which some of us may or not feel adds to the story). With all the good things about the movie, though, there are three significant weaknesses. First, Jones is too old for the part. He can play tired, seen-it-all types better than most, but he's noticeably older than almost everyone else in the movie. Second, I'm one of those who could easily do without, in the movie as well as in the book, the Confederate specters providing an excuse for Dave's angst and Hood as an excuse for insights into Dave's soul. For me, this is a just a literary device that comes off as unneeded and awkward. Third, the movie attempts to bring the conclusion together too quickly. The knots get tied, but we have no time to satisfactorily understand a couple of the story threads or to savor the conclusion of a movie whose style and characters gave so much pleasure.

Well, we can't always get everything we want. What we do get is darn good. The background to the movie, however, might scare us off. Evidently Tavernier and Jones did not see eye to eye as the movie was being filmed. The American producer took Tavernier's cut, chopped off 15 minutes and released the movie direct to DVD in the United States. The movie was released to theaters worldwide elsewhere with Tavernier's 117 minute cut. I've heard one or two critics say that the U.S. DVD release is hard to follow. No it isn't. There is only one part of the story where some useful motivation was evidently hacked up. I'd certainly like to see Tavernier's version. Just stay alert and you'll have few problems.

Bernard Tavernier is one of the best directors around. To get a glimpse of his style and variety, try Coup du Torchon (1981), a supremely mordant and cynical black comedy; D'Artagnan's Daughter (1994), a flashy costume adventure; and Life and Nothing But (1989), a sad and thoughtful film. Tavernier often used Philippe Noiret in his films; it was a great partnership.

We'll let Dave have the last word after he's solved the crimes and confronted one of perpetrators. "Have you no mercy, sir?" asks the aging man.

"No, sir," Dave says. "No, sir, I don't."
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Hidden gem
castlekc44 July 2018
So good..... Jones and Goodman are amazing.... the only downside is sarsgaard and Macdonald.... the movie would've been just as great without their flighty characters...
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detective solving two cases has to also cope with alcohol and LSD
mikedawson-976351 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The theme of the film is both state of mind of the detective who is trying to solve two murder cases simultaneously and the cases themselves. If you like movies that question the way we perceive things and how they change due to our level of consciousness then this film is worth watching.
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A True Atmospheric Gem
johnmcdonald-1655120 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is a true gem and captures the deep south atmosphere more realistically than any movie I've ever seen.

As usual, Tommy Lee Jones is truly outstanding as the no-messing enforcement officer but the quality of acting from everyone involved, even the insignificant characters, has to be commended.

The only fault I can find with the entire movie and the reason I only scored it 9 is the botched or should I say butchered editing which has got to be one of the worst attempts I have ever come across and can leave you highly confused at certain points of the film. Fortunately, this can be mostly overcome by buying the 117 min Australian TFI international version which is pieced together with more thought for the viewer. I won't go into the finer details concerning important pieces being omitted and how they drastically affect the film but if you watch all the different versions available, and believe me there are a few, you will understand exactly what I mean.

While watching the movie I wondered who had written the compelling screenplay and discovered after-wards it was Jerzy Kromolowski and Mary Olson Kromolowski who also wrote the screenplay for The Pledge with Jack Nicholson which is another outstanding movie. Let's hope they get the chance to display their talents on future movies, no doubt their class will come shining through and leave us with an end product we'll all thoroughly appreciate.

I'm looking forward to seeing Tommy in the new Jason Bourne movie. Although the utterly brilliant Bourne franchise does not need any kind of improving, Tommy will definitely add something that wasn't there previously.
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Solid but misses something
paul2001sw-130 April 2015
French director Betrand Tavernier usually makes (excellent) films in his own language; but 'In The Electric Mist' is set in deepest Lousiana, and not the Cajun-speaking part either. It's a solid police procedural, but it never rises to the heights of Tavernier's greatest work: one by one, the bodies mount up, strangely without causing anyone but the hero exceptional concern, while the overall portrait of the deep south is somewhat clichéd, a racist place (although the real villains are more misanthropist than particularly racist) but one where the ghost of a confederate general is somehow also a symbol of honour and decency. Tommy Lee Jones puts in a decent turn in the lead role, and I also liked the soundtrack (though it sounded more like mountain than bayou music to me). It's a watchable film, but not one that takes its viewer in any surprising directions.
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Death down along the bayou.
michaelRokeefe24 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Based on a bestselling novel by James Lee Burk, this psychological thriller features secrets to tell and crimes to unravel. Veteran detective Dave Robicheaux(Tommy Lee Jones)is investigating a series of brutal murders, mostly prostitutes. The New Iberia native winds through the Louisiana bayou and uncovers almost forgotten secrets and stirs up old grudges as he navigates a dark and sultry world of New Orleans mobster Baby Feet Balboni(John Goodman). This investigation gets complicated and ruthless as it becomes personal to the detective's family. You just never know what the world really means until you get down to New Orleans.

A very versatile all-star cast featuring: Peter Sarsgaard, Ned Beatty, Mary Steenburgen, Mary Macdonald, James Gammonn Levon Helm and Justina Machado.
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A pleasantly surprising neo-noir
brchthethird14 November 2014
IN THE ELECTRIC MIST is a near-perfect neo-noir anchored by a solid, yet restrained, performance by Tommy Lee Jones. Ever since I heard about this, I wanted to see it and boy was I surprised. It exceeded my expectations greatly. The story, put simply, is about a New Orleans detective Dave Robicheaux (Jones) who is investigating the murder of a prostitute and also looking into the 40-year-old murder of a black man who was recently found in a swamp. Along the way he ends up getting into situations that drag him further into Louisana's deep dark secrets and past, uncovers some things that other people would rather forget and has some surreal encounters with a Confederate general. That last bit really caught me off-guard, and also calls into the question the mental state of Robicheaux, who also serves as the film's narrator. I really liked the way that the filmmakers play around with the concept of reality in this movie, because it adds some depth to a fairly standard story and it also works in the thematic context of the story itself. There were also some great supporting performances given by John Goodman, as a crime boss who is also investing in a movie being shot there, Peter Sarsgaard as actor in that movie, as well as Mary Steenburgen (Robicheaux's wife), Kelly MacDonald, Buddy Guy and Levon Helm. Each of these actors has moments in the film where they can show off their acting ability, and not a moment is wasted with them. Also of note is the stunning soundtrack, which is full of great blues tunes and native Cajun folk songs which really bring out and accentuate the Louisiana culture on display. The score also helps to establish and maintain the palpable dramatic tension as well as give some shades of melancholy which are also personified in Jones' weathered detective character. If there was one fault I could find with the movie, it's a third act twist which is a bit predictable and cliché, but fortunately it's resolved rather quickly. Overall, the real draw is the strong central performance by Tommy Lee Jones who does a great job of portraying a seasoned, hard-boiled detective with some flaws, but a good sense of right and wrong. I also especially liked the idea of transplanting the hard-boiled detective story into post-Katrina New Orleans. Highly recommended viewing.
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a "4 leaf clover" film -- unintentionally perfect
A_Different_Drummer17 January 2015
Yeah, OK, I get the lowish rating.

Like they used to say in the 1920s, everyone's a critic.

Truer than ever I suppose, with the IMDb.

But the strange thing is that I have now seen this movie beginning to end about a half-dozen times and I don't tire of it.

That's unusual.

Especially with some 600 IMDb reviews under my belt, even I get curious when it is so easy to get lost, to lose time, in what seems at first glance to be just another police procedural with multiple instances of the word "chere" in the script...?

Then I look closer and go aha! Jones and Goodman. Jones and Goodman. Jones and Goodman.

Two of the best that Hollywood ever produced, each an extraordinarily well-rounded actor, yet each with a special gift at portraying one specific type of character.

Jones portraying a cop with no off button, who only knows that every crime must be solved.

And Goodman playing a larger than life character who only knows that every event in his life must end with him on top, no matter who has to die in the process. Literally.

They take a mundane procedural to the level of art.

Mary Steenburgen helps. The whole supporting cast is fine.

But Jones and Goodman are doing their best work here, leaving a legacy for actors of the future to study.

And no one noticed.

Until just now.
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Gumbo Noir
tieman6419 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
For genre fans, "In The Electric Mist" offers a solid slice of Southern Noir, Tommy Lee Jones playing Dave Robicheaux, a dishevelled detective in small town Louisiana.

Like most noirs, a dead body sets things in motion, or hero propelled into a labyrinthine world of cover ups, conspiracy, racism and murder. Robicheaux connects the dots, and we with him.

The film takes a couple bad steps – our hero's daughter is kidnapped (a needless cliché) and several surreal dream sequences (jarring) – but for the most part this is genre fare done right. Director Bertrand Tavernier paints a moody, misty Louisiana, and he maintains a pleasantly relaxed tone throughout; the tempo of the Deep South.

7.9/10 – When stacked up to next generation noirs ("The Wire", "Eyes Wide Shut", "Inland Empire", "Boarding Gate" etc), this is thoroughly retro. Worth one viewing.
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Make sure you watch the European cut
ekrats431 July 2010
Most of you have probably never heard of Tavernier, which is a shame as he has at least two masterpieces under his belt. The American DVD release is not only cut by 15 minutes, it is also drastically different in structure and tone. Think Leone's American cut of Once Upon a time In America. You didn't like that, did you? Well, to be honest neither of the films are perfect, but the American DVD is UNWATCHABLE. At least the director's cut is the way Tavernier preferred; and actually a middling thriller that is worthy of giving a spin. Gone is the made for TV pacing and ludicrous ending, and while it's not his best work, it will probably entertain you enough.

The acting is serviceable in both versions, but the lack of a back story (and thus motivation) makes some of the character actions seem out of place and silly.

I happen to like Heaven's Prisoners a lot more than anyone has any right to, and I think Tommy Lee Jones is a very good replacement for Baldwin. Gone is the optimistic charm of old Dave, hello new Dave that is bitter by what life has shown him. But a lot of that is lost in the American DVD.
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A good adaptation
Clothahump4 April 2009
Tommy Lee Jones is pretty much the mental image I have had for Dave Robicheaux ever since I started reading Burke's novels.

SWMBO and I were in New Iberia about two months ago, and it was interesting to see places in the movie I had just been. The trip itself really did wonders for filling the blanks in my imagination, so the movie was a "two-fer", so to speak.

The only thing that this movie really needed was for Tommy Lee to do a good Cajun accent.

Apart from that, it's a good adaptation of the novel. The scenes that were cut, for the most part, did not hinder the flow of the movie and Tommy Lee brings Dave to life in a very nice way.
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