A grounded sultry thriller that utilizes its New Orleans setting to maximum effect – complete with accents and Cajun music on the soundtrack – The Big Easy is a well-cast and directed film from director Jim McBride and screenwriter Daniel Petrie Jr.
A corrupt detective and an Assistant D.A. team up to find out who’s behind a series of killings in The Big Easy.
McSwain (Dennis Quaid with a grin as big as The Joker’s) is a hotshot detective in New Orleans who knows the ins and outs of his beat. His boss (played by Ned Beatty) is basically family and might eventually become his stepdad if things keep going the way they are. When a leggy Assistant District Attorney named Osborne (Ellen Barkin) shows up after a high profile murder rocks the city, she basically becomes McSwain’s sidekick as he makes his busy rounds, but he’s not so much interested in solving the cases he’s on as getting her in the sack. Osborne is just naive enough to think she can resist McSwain, and she’s also still entirely untouched by corruption, which McSwain can’t say the same. He’s got some grift going on the side, and after he and Osborne begin their affair, he unfortunately gets caught taking protection money from a strip club owner, and Osborne completely shifts sides and chooses to be the prosecuting attorney at his trial. When the trial falls apart after McSwain makes sure the evidence against him is destroyed, he gets serious about solving some of the murders stacking up around him on his beat, but by then it becomes clear that the killer or killers behind the murders are cops in his precinct, and he and Osborne team up to find the culprit before they come after them for knowing too much.
A grounded sultry thriller that utilizes its New Orleans setting to maximum effect – complete with accents and Cajun music on the soundtrack – The Big Easy is a well-cast and directed film from director Jim McBride and screenwriter Daniel Petrie Jr. The chemistry between Quaid and Barkin is very strong and while the movie does have some very sexy scenes, the film’s focus remains firmly on the characters and not on their sexual escapades. When the movie becomes a straight-ahead thriller, the movie has earned its violent climax, and it would’ve been interesting to see a sequel or follow-up of some sort with this set of characters. Also with John Goodman. The score is by Brad Fiedel.
Kino Lorber’s new Blu-ray edition of The Big Easy comes to high definition for the first time, and the transfer is nice and crisp. The disc comes with a new commentary by director Jim McBride, and the trailer, plus a slipcover.