In the Electric Mist (2009) starring Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard, Mary Steenburgen, Kelly Macdonald, Justina Machado, Ned Beatty, James Gammon, Pruitt Taylor Vince directed by Bertrand Tavernier Movie Review

In the Electric Mist (2009)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Tommy Lee Jones in In the Electric Mist (2009)

Bones of the Bayou

Lt. Dave Robicheaux (Tommy Lee Jones) is a detective in New Iberia, Louisiana who is investigating the murder of a hooker which he is positive is connected to New Orleans mobster Julie 'Baby Feet' Balboni (John Goodman) who is financing a civil war movie which is being shot nearby. It is how Robicheaux ends up arresting actor Elrod Sykes (Peter Sarsgaard) when he spots him driving dangerously and suspects he is under the influence. But Elrod surprises Robicheaux when he says he came across a pile of bones and chains in the bayou which when he takes him to see them makes the Lieutenant think back to a murder he witnessed as a teen and starts another investigation. But when another body shows up the FBI become involved as things start to look like the work of a serial killer.

Yet again I find myself looking at the screen trying to tell you what I think of a movie and being conflicted by how I feel. On one hand "In the Electric Mist" is a great production, it moves at its own pace, features lots of well known names and faces including Tommy Lee Jones who turns in another world weary performance and the atmosphere is heavy in the air. Except "In the Electric Mist" doesn't feel complete as it tries to juggle various story elements but never ties them together in an easy to follow manner.

John Goodman in In the Electric Mist (2009)

Now some may say that is part of what makes "In the Electric Mist" good, it forces you to pay attention as it goes from one story element to another and in its own way building this bigger picture. We start off with one murder, we then we have the old bones of another, we learn about a skeleton in Robicheaux's closet when it comes to drink and then there is another bit and another bit including visions of an old Civil War General. But every episode doesn't feel complete; the opening scene of Robicheaux at the initial crime scene just stops as does the next one. It made me question whether a studio got involved in the editing and without caring about the bigger picture and flow hacked out parts to make it run to under two hours.

The annoying thing is that "In the Electric Mist" features a great look and great atmosphere and the sort of solid performance you get from seasoned actors who understand that sometimes what you leave out makes the character. And that is what Tommy Lee Jones does because it is through using the world weary face he creates a character rather than having to demonstrate it.

What this all boils down to is that for me "In the Electric Mist" could have been a good movie but something went a wry and the end product feels like it is either unfinished or hacked about to keep the running length down to under two hours.