2 1/2 Stars
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is director Clint Eastwood’s second consecutive book-to-film adaption. After finding commercial and critical success with The Bridges of Madison County, the venerable filmmaker has focused his remarkable talents on bringing John Berendt’s book to life. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a semi-successful film that is both intriguing and plodding. The eclectic set of eccentric characters and the gorgeous locations are the highlight of an otherwise unwieldy story centering on a courtroom trial.
A journalist for Town & Country magazine, John Kelso (John Cusack), travels to Savannah, Ga., to cover the city’s Christmas celebration amid a backdrop of wealthy, mannered, and odd-ball characters. He becomes intrigued by a sultry singer, Mandy (Alison Eastwood), and engrossed by a murder trial. Wealthy society figure Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey) is accused of shooting his male lover, and the question is whether it was in self-defense as he claims. Kelso finds himself not only covering the goings-on but also becoming part of the trial.
At 155 minutes Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil feels both over-long and rushed. There are segments that drag-on seemingly without a point, and others that are hurried over with vague detail as to why certain actions took place to a specific character. As part of the over-all tapestry of Eastwood’s career it’s another off-beat installment from the 1990s.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Kevin Spacey, John Cusack, Jude Law