THE BIG EASY (1986) – An unjustly neglected film starring the one and only Dennis Quaid, who should have been made the new Indiana Jones after The Last Crusade in 1989. The Big Easy is easily one of the most underrated films of the 1980s.
Think of The Big Easy as Cajun-blackened Film Noir, which, of course, makes it colorful and upbeat Film Noir with kickass music. Set in New Orleans (known as the Big Easy for you overseas readers) this hardboiled mystery features Assistant DA Anne Osborne (Ellen Barkin) clashing, bickering, flirting with and falling for Quaid as Lt Remy McSwain. Remy is investigating Wiseguy murders that hint at an impending gangster war while Anne is probing police corruption.
The sparks fly between McSwain and Osborne but we viewers wonder if he’s playing her because he has too much to hide or if she’s playing him A Taxing Woman style. We also wonder if the omerta practiced by Remy and his police colleagues is simply because of the casual graft they’re into or if they’ve graduated from being crooked cops to being outright soldiers of organized crime.
Ned Beatty, Grace Zabriskie and John Goodman are in supporting roles in this enjoyable mystery/ rom-com/ travelogue for New Orleans.
8 responses to “THE BIG EASY (1986)”
I had spent a week in New Orleans a year before (1985). I see you used the word “travelogue” in your review. Scenes here and there brought me right back to New Orleans and added to enjoying the film. The crooked cops as a mere matter of normal life were intriguing and believable.
I agree, that place can all come back to you at a few glances. The police corruption as the norm helped draw me in, too.
is that the same ellen barkin from buckaroo banzai?
It sure is!
Pingback: BALLADEERS BLOG – El Noticiero de Alvarez Galloso
I remember this movie. It was pretty good. The most memorable things to me at the time were (1) Ellen Barkin and (2) the accents. Holy cow, the accents!
Ha! Yeah, they were something! It was made into a tv series years later on USA Network but I never saw it.