Miami Blues (1990)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama, Police Detective Film, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)  |   Release Date - Apr 20, 1990 (USA)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Karl Williams

In the late 1980s, director Jonathan Demme achieved critical acclaim with Something Wild (1986) and Married to the Mob (1988), a pair of films remarkable for their offbeat cinematic style, characterized by a brightly lit, candy-coated look that masked an undertone of homicidal menace. Following those two projects, Demme produced Miami Blues (1990) for director George Armitage, a compatriot from Demme's days of working for no-budget genre maestro Roger Corman. The odd mixture of bubbly cheer and simmering, sexual violence was reproduced less adroitly in Miami Blues than in Demme's directorial efforts, but the film was an artistic success despite its unevenness. Most notable were stellar performances from the trio of leads, Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Fred Ward as the "hero," Sergeant Hoke Moseley. Miami Blues was based on the novel of the same name by crime fiction writer Charles Willeford, part of an ongoing series featuring Moseley. Following Miami Blues, Demme returned to directing, and his work became more dark and somber with such films as The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Philadelphia (1993), and Beloved (1998).