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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) – Her Review August 13, 2006

Posted by Eury in Comedy, Drama, Movies, Mystery.
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Geez, your dog really has lost a lot of weight

Dir. Clint Eastwood

Starring John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, Jude Law, Alison Eastwood

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is based on a true story about nouveau-riche collector , Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey) accused of having murdered his gigolo boyfriend, Billy Hanson (Jude Law). The story is set in the very southern, gothic town of Savannah, Georgia where the Victorian homes are surrounded by manicured lawns and bushes and enclosed in wonderfully ornate black iron fences. John Kelso (John Cusack) a reporter that is there, for a day only, to cover the Williams Xmas party, decides, instead, to stay and interview the town’s people and write a book about the murder.

Although this is supposedly a crime mystery, to me it seems more a depiction of the look and mood of a small southern city where many rich and eccentric people live.

Minor Spoilers ahead

There is the man who walks an invisible dog, an old voodoo woman who wears dark sunglasses even at midnight and a sour alcolholic inventor with huge horse flies on strings attached to his clothing, who walks around with a small bottle of poison that he threatens everyone he’ll dispense into the water system one day and kill them all.

As quirky as these people may seem, what is truly interesting and very droll, is the nonchalant and very accepting reaction of the people that live there. Nobody lifts an eyebrow and it’s just all part of everyday life in Savannah.

One of the more entertaining players in the movie, is Lady Chablis (played by him/herself šŸ˜‰ ) a transsexual who does a club act about her sexuality yet at the same time keeps her rolled up weiner snitzchel a secret from her boyfriend cause she wants to tell him “when the time is right”.

Although IMDB listed this movie as a crime drama, I find it difficult to place it into this category as the character and mood of the people and place completely override the murder mystery here… yeah, it is there, but to me it almost feels like the subplot. It felt as if the murder mystery was an excuse to show how people of that town reacted to it and other crimes, mostly sweeping it (and any other delicate matters) under the rug, for the sake of appearance. It’s all about southern hospitality and deceptive politeness. It seems as if nobody really cares if he is punished or not, even Williams, himself, who seems more interested in knowing if he will be the main player in the book that John Kelso will write about him. Seeing how he paid “Town and Country” magazine to make sure he would be the writer to cover his Xmas party, it almost seems like the murder was already on his agenda, he just needed the proper person around to make sure that it became not only a newspaper article, but a huge affair, because everything here is bigger and better.

Clint Eastwood‘s daughter’s (Alison Eastwood) role in this movie, Mandy Nichols, probably could have been left on the cutting floor. She is pretty and free-spirited but her relationship with Kelso is boring and we never get at all attached to her at all, they have no love story, it is all incidental and just seemed as an extra distraction.

As a crime mystery, I would say forget it… it isn’t thrilling or very mysterious and you won’t be biting your nails trying to figure out what happened. As a humorous look on a society that is slow paced, (just like their southern drawl), very flamboyant, exotic and over the top… it’s hilarious.

This is Her review, you can read His review here

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1. 4eyes - His and Her movie reviews » Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) - His Review - August 13, 2006

[…] This is His review, you can read Her review here […]


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