This unspeakably tedious adaptation of a book by James Lee Burke is hampered by the fact that the leading man looks and sounds like an LA tourist, rather than a bruised ex-New Orleans cop recovering from violence and alcoholism by running a bait farm. Taking on the role of Dave Robicheaux, Baldwin gets back into his old baddie routine when he rescues a child from a spectacular air wreck. The crash concerns villains involved in dope, women and illegal immigrants, and leads to the killing of Dave's wife, at which point Baldwin gives what is one of the most embarrassingly unconvincing examples of Hollywood emoting by refusing to believe that she's dead. Joanou has a strong affinity for the violent, the religiously symbolic and the musical - one of the best things about this film is a solid blues soundtrack. But he can also be a deeply boring storyteller, and at 131 minutes this piece is way over its natural timespan; by about two thirds in, you pray for the alligators to get you.
Harley Peyton, Scott Frank
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