×

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.

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.

Popular on Variety

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

  • Kristen Stewart Underwater

    Watch Kristen Stewart Fight Sea Monsters in 'Underwater' Trailer

    Vampires, ghosts and now sea monsters? Clearly there is no monster actress Kristen Stewart cannot tame. In the first trailer for the submerged thriller “Underwater,” Stewart is a member of a stranded submarine crew. The trailer begins with the radio message: “You are now 5,000 miles from land and you are descending seven miles to [...]

  • Romanian Director Catalin Mitulescu on Sarajevo

    Romanian Director Catalin Mitulescu on Sarajevo Competition Film ‘Heidi’

    A leading figure of the Romanian New Wave, Cătălin Mitulescu has had a heralded career since winning the Palme d’Or for his 2004 short film “Traffic.” His first two features, “The Way I Spent the End of the World” (2006) and “Loverboy” (2011), both premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar. He also co-produced and [...]

  • Betty Gilpin'Stuber' film premiere, Arrivals, Regal

    'GLOW' Star Betty Gilpin in Talks to Join Chris Pratt in 'Ghost Draft' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fresh off her Emmy nomination for Netflix’s “GLOW,” Betty Gilpin has found her next project. The actress is in talks to join Chris Pratt in “Ghost Drama,” a sci-fi action film from Skydance and Paramount. Gilpin would join a cast that also includes “Handmaid’s Tale” star Yvonne Strahovski. Directed by “Lego Batman” filmmaker Chris McKay [...]

  • Stephan Komandarev on Sarajevo Player ‘Rounds’

    Director Stephan Komandarev on Sarajevo Player ‘Rounds’ and His Bulgarian Trilogy

    Bulgarian director Stephan Komandarev earned critical acclaim for his 2017 feature “Directions,” which was selected for Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar. The first installment in a planned trilogy about the social inequality and moral ills plaguing both Bulgaria and Europe at large, the film followed six cab drivers over the course of 24 hours as [...]

  • Meryl Streep Best Movie Lines

    HBO Max Lands Steven Soderbergh's Next Film Starring Meryl Streep

    HBO Max has picked up Steven Soderbergh’s next film, the comedy “Let Them All Talk” starring Meryl Streep. Joining Streep in the ensemble cast are Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest, Lucas Hedges and Gemma Chan. The screenplay was written by short story author and MacArthur Fellow recipient Deborah Eisenberg. It’s the story of a celebrated author [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen FYSEE Opening Night with

    Bruce Springsteen Drops Introspective Trailer for 'Western Stars' Film

    While initial reports about Bruce Springsteen’s forthcoming documentary around his recent “Western Stars” album said that it would essentially be a concert film, the first trailer for it, which dropped today, suggests it’s going to be a more introspective outing, more in line with his autobiographical performances at “Springsteen on Broadway” in 2017 and 2018, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content