Clint Eastwood is a like a good wine; he gets better with age. Some of the movies he acted in are classics, but some of his directed pieces top those. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is one of those.
Based on the book by John Berendt, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil tells the true story of a millionaire in Savannah who shoots and kills a young man and goes to trial for it, and the reporter who is caught up in the middle between the truth and falsities. To bring the movie to life, Eastwood enlisted an all star cast, namely John Cusack and Kevin Spacey, although there are many other recognizable faces as well.
From the beginning to the end, Midnight is an extremely well done movie, with a beautiful presentation, and a wonderful script, and interesting characters, whether they have anything to do with the plot or not. Some of the small colorings that Eastwood has added to the film (and are probably in the book as well) are a man who walks an invisible dog, and a man who has bees attached to him with a string. Some of the things in the movie are odd, to say the least, but make the movie all the more lively, as no matter what is going on, something entertaining is going on.
The best part about Midnight is that while it has a serious plot, it is able to be serious and funny at the same time. Eastwood seems to have a knack at doing this, considering that both of his other recent films, True Crime and Space Cowboys, had serious themes but funny scripts, and they worked. Midnight is no different, easily blending comedy and oddness in with a murder mystery. Furthermore, this kind of script is where John Cusack thrives, because he always seems to be able to pull off seriousness while never being too serious.
The only weak part in the movie is the last five minutes or so, where everything seems together nicely without much being accomplished. What happens to Spacey is not explained too well, or at least not to the level that I would have liked. Also, the small romantic subplot between Cusack and Alison Eastwood seemed a little contrived and pointless.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is an entertaining and masterful piece of work by the veteran Clint Eastwood, and it has all of the elements needed for a classic.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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