Premiere - 04/01/1996
"...A potboiler overflowing with possibilities..." - Recommended
Rolling Stone - 10/05/1995
"...[A] whip-smart and sexy film....Denzel Washington is flat-out perfection..."
Variety - 09/18/1995
"An engrossingly atmospheric dip into the dark waters of postwar urban intrigue....Washington's performance is alert and subtle..."
Los Angeles Times - 09/29/1995
"...A major accomplishment, a fluid, persuasive piece of movie-making graced with the considerable sophistication of Tak Fujimoto....This is a film in smooth control of its ways and means..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 09/29/1995
"...[Franklin] creates a rich atmospheric style, a mood; the characters do not stand on their own so much as inhabit places within a traditional frame....Washington's warmth at the center of it is like our own bemusement..."
Total Film - 08/01/2000
"...Set in a beautifully evoked late-'40s LA, it features an outstanding performance from Denzel Washington..."
Wall Street Journal - 08/01/2013
"Denzel Washington has never given a finer performance than in this elegant thriller, directed by Carl Franklin from a screenplay he based on the novel by Walter Mosely..."
The year is 1948, the place is Los Angeles, and Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins (Denzel Washington) is a black man who has just lost his job and is in dire need of money. So, despite having no experience as a private eye, Easy accepts an assignment from a seedy man (Tom Sizemore) to find the missing Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals), the mistress of a powerful mayoral candidate. As Rawlins conducts his search, he unexpectedly becomes drawn into a complex racially-charged web of intrigue involving political machinations, double-crossings, blackmail, and mysterious deaths. With the aid of his trigger-happy friend Mouse (Don Cheadle), Easy must rely on his instincts and neophyte detective skills, not only to solve the case, but also to save his life. African-American director Carl Franklin (ONE FALSE MOVE) brings Walter Mosley's crime series to life with this dense thriller, aided greatly by Tak Fujimoto's sun-soaked photography and an electric soundtrack reflecting the music of the times. As Easy Rawlins, an everyman who finds himself an unwilling pawn in a dangerous game of mystery and murder, Washington delivers an intense performance. It is Don Cheadle, however, who steals the show, giving his hot-tempered Mouse a comic humanity that is at once menacing, hysterical, and unforgettable.
"Easy" Rawlins (Denzel Washington), a black WWII veteran in 1948 Los Angeles, becomes an accidental private eye in this stylish period drama set against L.A.'s lush jazz scene. When a corrupt politician shows up in his neighborhood looking for help tracking down a mysterious missing white woman, Daphne Monet (Jennifer Beals), it leads to blackmail and murder Based on the novel by Walter Mosley, Carl Franklin's film is an original twist on the film noir/private detective genre, featuring an unforgettable supporting turn by Don Cheadle
Released theatrically in the USA on September 29, 1995, DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS grossed $15.9 million at the domestic box office.
Don Cheadle was voted Best Supporting Actor of 1995 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for his performance. He won a similar award from the National Society of Film Critics, who also garnished the film with a Best Cinematography award.
President Bill Clinton once declared that novelist Walter Mosley was his favorite author.