Brown's Requiem (1998)

A faithful, surprisingly low-key adaptation of James Ellroy's first novel. Ex-cop Fritz Brown (Michael Rooker), a more or less alcoholic private eye, is hired by a strange superslob golf caddy who wants him to look out for his pianist sister (Selma Blair), who is living with a sinister businessman. Typical of an Ellroy plot, nobody is trustworthy and Rooker, in his best post-Henry role, spends as much time tracking down his increasingly bizarre employer, whose fortune is tied up in lost golf balls, as he does breaking the case, which gets wrapped up without him, prompting a descent into even more despair. An enjoyable procession of shady character actors (Brad Dourif, Brion James, Tobin Bell) pop up to swap cynicisms with Rooker, but it doesn't quite have the mix of grand guignol and noir that distinguishes Cop or LA Confidential as Ellroy movies.
KIM NEWMAN

First Published In: Empire (issue unknown).


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