Actually, Detective Dave Robicheaux (Tommy Lee Jones) was busy investigating the murder of a young woman when he met the Hollywood star Elrod Sykes (Peter Sarsgaard) and his girlfriend Kelly Drummond (Kelly Macdonald) who are in town to shoot a movie. He learns of a corpse that the two claim to have found in a nearby swamp. Dave investigates the matter and is not just reminded of an incident that happened a long time ago. The matter also appears to be related to a number of recent murders that have been committed in recent times. And somehow the local mobster “Baby Feet” Balboni (John Goodman) who Dave used to be friends with being involved in the story…
Big stars in front of a small audience
When a film with a star cast doesn’t make it to the cinemas, a certain amount of skepticism is often the order of the day. There must be a reason if no one believes in commercial success. Same with In the Electric Mist – Mord in Louisiana, which could not be seen in US or local cinemas. And that despite the fact that Tommy Lee Jones and John Goodman are two real acting heavyweights. The template is also better known. More precisely, it is an adaptation of the novel In the shadow of the mangroves von James Lee Burke, one of nearly two dozen books the author has written about Detective Dave Robicheaux. After all, the film was shown at the Berlinale 2009, where the response was positive but not overwhelming.
But storms of enthusiasm are likely to the French director Bertrand Tavernier (The passenger ticket) have not had in mind anyway. The crime drama is much too calm for that, action scenes should be included In the Electric Mist – Mord in Louisiana not expecting. The film is certainly not free of violence, especially Dave is not squeamish in this respect: When it comes to advancing his investigations, he uses everything that falls into his hands. Nor does he shy away from interpreting the law in his own unique way, provided the result is correct. Conversely, he is also a victim of violence that is so cynical and callous that one does not necessarily want to pay a visit to this patch of earth. At least not without bodyguards, or even better, a tank.
Fairytale world haunted by ghosts
At the same time, that wouldn’t really fit into the scenery. Because she is deliberately dreamy. The French cameraman Bruno deKeyzer transforms the swampy landscape of Louisiana into a fairytale world. However, not one where unicorns graze peacefully under rainbows. Rather is In the Electric Mist – Mord in Louisiana haunted by the ghosts of yore that wander in the shade of the old trees. The film also has a slightly fantastic touch every now and then when Dave talks to vision and the past. Nothing is ever really over, that’s the impression you get when you watch it. Above all, guilt cannot be pushed aside and forgotten just because you want it that way. It always pops up when you can’t use it.
Atmospherically it’s very strong, you can easily get lost in the ominous mood here. However, the case itself is less interesting in comparison. Not even Tavernier seems really interested in it, at least that’s the impression one gets. There is a resolution, but it’s in there more out of a sense of duty, not because it’s really important. It’s a bit of a critique of a degenerate, corrupt world that poisons you just by walking past. But it is not enough for a real statement. Those who want to watch the film primarily for the criminological aspect will not be served that well. It is the world shown itself, including the people struggling in it, that draws the eye In the Electric Mist – Mord in Louisiana justify. 112 minutes would not have been necessary. At times one has the feeling of having to fight one’s own way through a swamp.
OT: „In the Electric Mist“
Land: France, United States
Director: Bertrand Tavernier
Script: Jerzy Kromolowski, Mary Olson-Kromolowski
Template: James Lee Burke
Music: Marco Beltrami
Camera: Bruno deKeyzer
Occupation: Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard, Kelly MacdonaldMary Steenburgen, Justina Machado, Ned Beatty
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