×

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

  • A PERFECTLY NORMAL FAMILY

    Watch the Exclusive Trailer of Rotterdam/Goteborg Entry ‘A Perfectly Normal Family’

    Variety has been given exclusive access to the international trailer of the Danish film “A Perfectly Normal Family,” due to compete both at Rotterdam’s Big Screen Competition, and at Göteborg’s Nordic Film Competition. Malou Reyman’s debut feature has been a hot property for sales agent New Europe Film Sales, ever since it was sneak peeked [...]

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life,' '1917' Shoot Past $100 Million

    Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are showing plenty of staying power at North American multiplexes with about $31 million for its second weekend, estimates showed Saturday. Sony’s third installment of the “Bad Boys” action comedy franchise is crossing the $100 million mark at the box office on Saturday, its ninth day of release, and will [...]

  • Dinner in America

    'Dinner in America': Film Review

    There are bits of “Repo Man,” “Napoleon Dynamite” and other literally or just philosophically “punk rock” cult comedies in the DNA of Adam Carter Rehmeier’s rude yet ingratiating “Dinner in America” — and mercifully none whatsoever here of his 2011 first feature “The Bunny Game,” a shrilly monotonous “extreme” horror for which all is now [...]

  • AtmosphereSundance Film Festival preperations, Park City,

    Sundance: Study Finds Lack of Inclusion at Film Festivals

    A study by the Time’s Up Foundation and USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has found that women and people of color are vastly underrepresented at film festivals worldwide. The new report, “Inclusion at Film Festivals,” examined the gender, race, and ethnicity of narrative film directors, film festival programmers, and executives from 2017-2019. The study was released [...]

  • Worth

    'Worth': Film Review

    As a child, when future TV host Fred Rogers would see scary images on the news, his mother would tell him, “Look for the heroes.” If Fred were a boy today, she’d add, “Look for Ken Feinberg.” Feinberg, the lawyer at the center of Sara Colangelo’s “Worth,” specializes in putting a price tag on human [...]

  • Mika Ronkainen and Merja Aakko

    ‘All the Sins’ Producers to Broaden Spanish-Language Ties (EXCLUSIVE)

    GÖTEBORG, Sweden: “All the Sins”’ Finnish co-writers and creators Mika Ronkainen and Merja Aakko, winners of last year’s Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for outstanding Nordic screenplay, are developing for MRK Matila Röhr Productions an adoption drama set between Finland and Guatemala. Based on a true story, the six-part series “Act of Telling” (a [...]

  • A still from Vivos by Ai

    'Vivos': Film Review

    To the individual enduring it, sorrow seems a lonely, defenseless emotion, one from which others are too quick to look away. Shared and felt en masse, however, it can become something different: a galvanizing force, a wall, not diminished in pain but not diminished by it either. Ai Weiwei’s stirring new documentary “Vivos” runs on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content