1996, R, 132 min. Directed by Phil Joanou. Starring Alec Baldwin, Mary Stuart Masterson, Kelly Lynch, Teri Hatcher, Eric Roberts, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Badja Djola.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., May 24, 1996
I like Alec Baldwin. Really I do. So, it hurts me every time he appears in messy, scattershot films like this one. I'm thinking about buying Tylenol in bulk these days. Based on the bestseller by James Lee Burke, Heaven's Prisoners is the story of Dave Robicheaux (Baldwin) an ex-cop from New Orleans who long ago gave up both the badge and the bottle in favor of running a bait-and-tackle shop in the Louisiana bayou with his wife Annie (Lynch). When the pair rescue a young South American girl from the wreckage of a deadly plane crash, the DEA, the local mob, and Dave's old criminal pal Bubba Rocque (Roberts) all converge on his previously idyllic life, pressing down hard with dire warnings of bloodshed or worse. Like any good NOPD ex-cop worth his Miranda rights, Dave ignores the protestations of his wife and friends and dives back into his old New Orleans stomping grounds, searching for clues about the child and why everyone would rather he just erase the plane crash from his memory. And, like any good movie cop worth his tough-guy dialogue, he ends up in a world of hurt. While it may have been a great book, this film version of Heaven's Prisoners isn't going to be winning any Palm d'Ors. From Baldwin's on-again/off-again Cajun accent to Roberts' endearingly goofy (yet totally ridiculous) portrait of a muscle-bound bayou bad boy, the film continually teeters on the brink of the laughter. And for all its regional dialect and noir intentions, Heaven's Prisoners is almost sublime in its silliness. Poor Alec Baldwin. Maybe there's a sequel to Miami Blues somewhere down the road? We can hope.