Picks and Pans Review: Heaven's Prisoners
Baldwin, playing a prematurely retired New Orleans cop and recovering alcoholic, has an excellent confession-booth scene at the very beginning. Sweatily anguishing over his thirst for booze, Baldwin nails down every word with the quiet panic of a ship's carpenter trying to repair a gash in the bottom. Hoo, baby! Intense!
What follows is an incredibly flabby tale of crime and redemption. Or something—it just ambles on and on. Baldwin, now living by the bayou with his wife (Lynch), is out a-trollin' one day when a plane nearly mows down his boat and crashes into the water. He dives down and manages to rescue a little girl, a Salvadoran. Ah, but it develops that the pilot of the sabotaged plane had shady dealings with Eric Roberts, a small-time crime lord who is trying to do business with the Crescent City mafia. Soon the movie is crawling with thugs and assassins, all of them colorful, none of them vivid. It seems to me that audiences would have gotten a more enjoyable jolt if director Phil Joanou had come up with some homage to The Godfather. Roberts, say, wakes up in bed and discovers not a horse's head but a prawn.
Mary Stuart Masterson, cast against type as a stripper, is appealing and warm. Teri Hatcher (ABC's Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) plays Roberts's wife, a femme fatale who keeps setting down her drinks without coasters, much to his annoyance. She's not believable, but at least she's fun. (R)
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