Kidnapped boy Phillip Perry (T.J. Lowther) strikes up a friendship with his captor Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner): an escaped convict on the run from the law, while the search is headed up by honorable Texas Ranger "Red" Garrett (Clint Eastwood).
A brief fling between disc jockey Dave Garver (Clint Eastwood) and obsessed female fan Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter) takes a frightening, and perhaps even deadly turn when another woman, Tobie Williams (Donna Mills), enters the picture.
This panoramic tale of Savannah, Georgia's eccentricities focuses on a murder and the subsequent trial of James Arthur Williams (Kevin Spacey): self made man, art collector, antiques dealer, bon vivant, and semi-closeted homosexual. John Kelso (John Cusack) a magazine reporter, finds himself in Savannah amidst the beautiful architecture and odd doings to write a feature on one of William's famous Christmas parties. He is intrigued by Williams from the start, but his curiosity is piqued when he meets Jim's violent, young and sexy lover, Billy Hanson (Jude Law). Later that night, Billy is dead, and Kelso stays on to cover the murder trial. Along the way, he encounters the irrepressible Chablis Deveau (Lady Chablis), a drag queen commedienne, Sonny Seiler (Jack Thompson), lawyer to Williams, whose famous dog, Uga, is the official mascot of the Georgia Bulldogs, an odd man who keeps flies attached to mini leashes on his lapels and threatens daily to poison the water supply, the Married ...Written by
Teresa B. O'Donnell <email@example.com>
The famous Bird Girl statue shown at the beginning of the movie is not one of the original four. It is a replica. The hands are backwards. The statue's thumbs are facing the camera, when they should not be visible while holding the bowls. See more »
Billy's grip on the liquor bottle at the Christmas party changes between shots. See more »
Quit eye balling me, Flavius. I knew you when you was a two bit hustler on Bull Street.
See more »
Closing disclaimer: This film is based upon John Berendt's book "MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL". Dialogue and certain events and characters contained in the film were created for the purposes of dramatization. See more »
The UK Region 2 multi-DVD box set titled "CLINT EASTWOOD 35 YEARS, 35 FILMS" (EAN 5051892017114) released on August 16, 2010 makes reference to the inclusion of a Director's Cut. Eastwood has admitted to shooting a "love scene" between Kevin Spacey and Alison Eastwood and then cutting it from this film and although not confirmed it is suspected this is included to make some or all of the Director's Cut. The latter information sourced from http://www.screenit.com/movies/1997/midnight_in_the_garden_of_good_&_evil.html See more »
A clever but flawed example of the black art of adapting a very literary work to film. The plot has been streamlined (one trial instead of four), some of the characters given expanded roles, others dropped out, a fictitious affair inserted. However the essentially journalistic narrative remains, and the theme remains outsider tries to understand an inward-looking society bent on preserving their environment and way of life and resisting outside influence. Healthy decadence, if there is such a thing.
The Jim Williams case is really just a framework for author Berendt's enquiry into what makes Savannah tick, and the film tends to ignore that, concentrating on the trial(s) and Jim's relationship with the author figure, who is given a much bigger role than in the book. Hence some of the color bits, Minerva the voodoo lady, Joe the feckless party giver, even the Lady Chablis (played by herself) seemed kind of irrelevant.
Some nice acting was evident. Kevin Spacey as Jim Williams in a silver waistcoat and bushy moustache looked a bit like a riverboat gambler, but he held our attention, if not our sympathy. Jack Thompson as his lawyer showed his courtroom manner has come a long way since 'Breaker Morant' and almost had me convinced he really was a good ole boy from the American South instead of a Melbourne bred actor. The bulldog was good too.
Savannah is truly a cute town and deserves a visit; the film does not really do it justice. It's done the tourist industry there some good though. On a recent visit your correspondent was unable to get into Clary's, a fairly ordinary diner made famous by the book and the film, for lunch (they don't do dinner) due to the busloads of tourists that had descended on it. Never mind, there's better food elsewhere - try the deli on Drayton Parker's, I think.
16 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this