Devil in a Blue Dress - * * * 1/2*

A stylish thriller about race, politics, murder and scandal in the 1940s. Denzel Washington plays Easy Rawlins, an ex-G.I. who becomes an amateur private investigator when a mysterious man asks him to look for the missing fiancee of an ex-mayoral candidate. Naturally, he soon finds himself entangled in a complex web of corruption, deceit and murder. The plot is complex, delivering suspense and surprises. Denzel Washington delivers a good performance, but he is outdone by his murderous, but loyal friend, Mouse, played by Don Cheadle. Jennifer Beals is adequate as the title character, but she needs to be no more. The true star of this film is its atmosphere. The director, Carl Franklin, makes the racially-charged atmosphere of 1940’s Los Angeles come alive. From the smoky nightclubs to the golden-hued streets, there is a true sense of time and place that permeates this film.

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