Miami Blues Screen 94 of 4 reviews

Miami Blues

1990

Miami Blues Poster
  • Miami Blues is about as close as a film can get to the spirit of Willeford, though Armitage’s script does some smart streamlining of the novel... It’s a great movie for mouths, those telltale indicators of class: Leigh’s uncorrected lisp and overbit frown, Ward’s denture routines, Baldwin’s put-’er-there come-on smile, a rehearsed-from-infomercials cover barely concealing impatient ex-con wariness.

  • Nervy, hilarious and anarchic, this underseen jaw-dropper winningly transplants source author Charles Willeford’s laconic detective Hoke Moseley (Fred Ward) and feel for lived-in Florida color from page to screen, and adds two wild cards (or jokers) in the forms of Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason Leigh at their freest.

  • All three actors [Fred Ward, Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason Leigh] give career-high performances, but the real star of Miami Blues is the little-known, criminally underrated Armitage, whose unique sensibility teeters between mordant comedy and barbed pathos. That he succeeds in putting an endearing, faintly amused spin on material this potentially seamy is nothing short of miraculous.

  • Part of what makes Miami Blues so good is its perfectly controlled balance between the parts of the story focused on Junior and Moseley, each of which has a very different kind of wry humor, beautifully and economically spelled out by Armitage’s direction.

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