×

Storyville

Storyville has a little trouble getting its story straight. A teeming cesspool of illicit sex, murder, suicide, family intrigue and political chicanery in exotic Louisiana, this would-be Chinatown is so overloaded with outrageous implausibilities that the temptation is very strong to consider it all a joke.

With:
James Spader Joanne Whalley-Kilmer Jason Robards Charlotte Lewis Michael Warren Michael Parks

Storyville has a little trouble getting its story straight. A teeming cesspool of illicit sex, murder, suicide, family intrigue and political chicanery in exotic Louisiana, this would-be Chinatown is so overloaded with outrageous implausibilities that the temptation is very strong to consider it all a joke.

In his first big-screen direction, Mark Frost, a key force behind Hill Street Blues and David Lynch’s partner on Twin Peaks for TV, has taken an Australian novel [Juryman by Frank Galbally and Robert Macklin] and relocated it in New Orleans, where just about anything goes.

James Spader plays Cray Fowler, a callow, good-looking kid trying to carry his rich, corrupt family’s tradition of political service into a third generation. Encouraged by family patriarch Clifford Fowler (Jason Robards) in the old-boy-network school, Cray is divorcing his wife and seeking the support of black voters.

Popular on Variety

Cray is crazy enough to run off with the enticing Lee (Charlotte Lewis), a Vietnamese woman he’s barely met. He is obliged to fight her maniacal father, who mysteriously winds up dead. When Lee is charged with the murder, Cray astoundingly offers his services as defense attorney. Opposing him will be a prosecutor (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer) who’s his old flame.

Cray does so many apparently stupid things, and the many jaw-dropping loopholes and long-shots in the first half make the film systematically unconvincing. Whalley-Kilmer and Lewis are attractive in functional parts, and Robards serves up an old-school blowhard to a fare-thee-well.

Storyville

Production: Davis Entertainment/Pressman. Director Mark Frost; Producer David Roe, Edward R. Pressman; Screenplay Mark Frost, Lee Reynolds; Camera Ron Garcia; Editor B.J.Sears; Music Carter Burwell; Art Director Richard Hoover

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 110 MIN.

With: James Spader Joanne Whalley-Kilmer Jason Robards Charlotte Lewis Michael Warren Michael Parks

More Film

  • Lizzo51st Annual NAACP Image Awards, Arrivals,

    NAACP Winners 2020: The Complete List

    The 51st annual NAACP Awards took place Saturday night in Los Angeles with Lizzo being named Entertainer of the Year. Warner Bros.’ legal drama “Just Mercy” nearly swept the top film awards, taking home best motion picture, ensemble, best actor (Michael B. Jordan) and supporting actor (Jamie Foxx). Lupita N’yongo won the best actress prize [...]

  • The Salt of Tears

    'The Salt of Tears': Film Review

    Handsome twentysomething Luc is a trainee joiner, a craft inherited from his doting single dad: a man at once proud of his son’s continuation of their trade, and hopeful that he’ll do something greater with it. When Luc asks his father if he ever wanted to design furniture rather than simply build it, the reply [...]

  • Time to Hunt

    'Time to Hunt': Film Review

    As context for those unaware, South Korea does not have the equivalent of the United States’ Second Amendment. Instead, the country enforces strict gun control — privately owned weapons must be stored at the police station — and fatal shootings hardly ever happen there. That’s important to know when watching Korean movies: It explains why [...]

  • SF Studios, Cinematic Inc. Join Forces

    SF Studios, Cinematic Inc. Join Forces on 'Comet in Moominland,' 'When the Doves Disappeared,' 'Omerta'

    SF Studios is joining forces with Antti J. Jokinen’s leading Finnish production banner Cinematic Inc. to develop and produce the animated feature “Comet in Moominland” and “When the Doves Disappeared,” adapted from Sofi Oksanen’s bestseller. “Comet in Moominland” and “When the Doves Disappeared” are being made by both companies as part of a five-picture deal. [...]

  • Tiger Rising

    Exclusive First Look: 'The Tiger Rising' Starring Queen Latifah

    Queen Latifah and Madalen Mills star in Ray Giarratana’s “The Tiger Rising.” The drama is based on Kate DiCamillo’s New York Times Bestselling children’s book and produced by Deborah Giarratana and Ryan Donnell Smith.  Highland Film Group is handling worldwide sales, which are under at the European Film Market in Berlin. The Tiger Rising” is [...]

  • The Berlinale Bear is Seen in

    Berlinale Enlivened by Anti-Chile State Violence Protests

    A politically charged Berlin Film Festival was further enlivened on the third day of the European Film Market by a demonstration targeting Chilean armed forces. On Saturday, the Martin Gropius Bau, the site of the EFM, saw a group of anonymous protestors unfurl a big banner from one of the market’s upper floors, with activists [...]

  • Vadim Perelman, Ilja Zofin, Lars Eidinger

    'Persian Lessons' Eidinger, Perelman Say Film Offers Parallels for Today

    Director Vadim Perelman and frequent Berlinale film star Lars Eidinger on Saturday championed their new Holocaust-set “Persian Lessons” as a timely, very German tale of how that dark history is closer to us than it seems, made uniquely possible by the fact that most of the film’s production team is not German. The film’s world [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content