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Overall Rating
3.74

Awesome: 10.53%
Worth A Look73.68%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 10.53%
Total Crap: 5.26%

2 reviews, 7 user ratings


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Big Easy, The
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by Natasha Theobald

"Easy does it."
4 stars

This movie absolutely drips with local color. You can almost smell the Cajun spices and feel the heavy, humid air on your skin. From the music to the overall mood, this movie is very specific about a place -- New Orleans. Whether the depiction is altogether accurate could be argued, but what you see is, at least, typical of what people think of when they think of the Big Easy. The detail offered is reason enough to recommend the movie, but it actually has a pretty good story and some nice chemistry among the characters who tell it, as well.

Remy McSwain (Dennis Quaid) followed in the footsteps of his daddy and pretty near every other male in his family by joining the police force. He is a young lieutenant who knows the ins and outs and how to work the system for what it's worth, legal or not so much. He is not above accepting a free dinner of appreciation for his hard work upholding the law, nor is he beyond running a red light or committing other minor infractions as it suits him. He knows he is a good cop above all else. He knows his job well and uses his charm and intelligence to get ahead. He is not a criminal, but he knows the criminal mind.

Anne Osborne (Ellen Barkin) is new in the DA's office. She has taken an interest in some recent murders in the area which seem to point to a war among local drug-running factions. It is in this capacity that she becomes acquainted with Remy, who has been instructed to keep her occupied, by any means that might arise. With him, she gets to see firsthand the way things work in the Big Easy, where corruption seems as natural as a laid-back good time. However, as the bodies begin to stack up and the evidence begins to look shaky, Remy starts to see the law through Anne's eyes and wonder if his minor transgressions don't illustrate a larger problem with drawing a line in the sand of law enforcement.

The romance part of the story is good. The initial seduction comes a little quickly, but it radiates with chemistry and genuine heat. As things grow more complicated, the romantic angle actually gets a bit stronger. The characters are shown for their flaws, but you still want them to find a way past them together.

The police corruption stuff is not new territory, but the story unfolds in a compelling way. A lot of the camaraderie among the officers seems jovial and funny. From the man in charge, played by Ned Beatty, to the other officers (John Goodman, Ebbe Rowe Smith, Lisa Jane Persky) things are lively and interesting. I particularly enjoyed a couple of moments between Quaid and Persky, which seemed playful and funny in context.

Dennis Quaid gives my favorite performance in the movie. He absolutely oozes charm and is constantly seductive, in love and at work, drawing people to him, to his ultimate advantage. The accent is a little much at times, but the character seems larger than life and utterly human simultaneously. As his worldview is altered by the events of the movie, Quaid cuts Remy down to an emotional center that is as threadbare as it is painfully knowing. The quirks of the character, from the Gator thing to the way he banters back and forth with friends and colleagues, make Remy interesting but never cartoonish (again excepting the accent).

I have to admit, I used to watch this movie pretty often. Something about it really appealed to my teenage sensibility. It makes it hard to look at it with complete objectivity now, as if such a thing were ever possible anyway. It wasn't quite what I remembered, but it still deserves an over-the-shoulder glance.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3782&reviewer=317
originally posted: 03/03/03 04:43:04
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User Comments

6/22/15 David Hollingsworth Barkin and Quaid steam up the screen 5 stars
3/07/04 Dave A Possibly the worst attempted accents in the history of cinema. 1 stars
1/01/03 Jack Sommersby Colorful and very entertaining. Quaid is sensational! (Dumb finale, though.) 4 stars
10/22/02 Charles Tatum The Big Sleazy 2 stars
5/17/02 Priscilla Postlethwaite The BIG EASY is a LITTLE HARD to watch! 2 stars
9/30/01 Marigold Rogers Good chemistry between the two stars, good, sometimes funny, dialogue, pacey, colourful 5 stars
7/28/01 R.W. Welch Atmospheric milieu and good Quaid/Barkin chemistry make for above average crime flick. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Aug-1987 (R)

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