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Miami Blues (1990) – Blu-ray Review

Alec Baldwin stars as a wanted ex-con, Junior Frenger who starts to go back to his old ways of robbing and beating people when he meets Susie (Jennifer Jason Lee) and uses her to get the things he wants but slowly falls in love with her. But with each of his crimes starting to become more and more outrageous and the cops on his trail, the relationship can only end one way.

Directed by George Armitage, Miami Blues is a lost gem of a film with a real standout performance from Alec Baldwin in his first lead role, who goes from lovable thief to psychopath at the flick of a switch, and you really do not know what he is going to do next. Fred Ward is great as the cop chasing him down and after a bizarre meeting of the couple in a hotel room, he tries every way possible to get the guy after he gets badly beaten up by him and especially when he finds out Junior is using his badge and pretending to be a cop.

Jennifer Jason Lee has stated that this role is one of the films that shot her to fame, and she is fantastic as an innocent and naive woman who takes Junior at his word but slowly realises that the picket fence cosy home lifestyle will not work, and she is being manipulated, especially in a pivotal scene at a pawn shop.

The film has a real sense of black humour throughout, and you find yourself laughing at scenes that you really should not be. Most of the characters are idiots in one way or another as they bumble their way through Miami trying to make the best of what they have. The violence and black humour are balanced very well, and this is one comedy thriller that is well worth checking out.

The new Blu-ray released in the UK is from Radiance and has a very good 1080p transfer, it is very pleasing even if a bit soft in a couple of scenes. The LPCM 2.0 track for Miami Blues sounds great and really enhances the soundtrack. The extras are as follows –

Interviews with Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason Leigh (2015)
David Jenkins looks at Miami Blues and Jonathan Demme’s role in the production (2022)
Pulp crime expert Maxim Jakubowski discusses the character of Hoke Moseley in both Miami Blues and Willeford’s novels, in which he is a recurrent character (2022)
Behind-the-scenes and promotional image gallery
Reversible sleeve, featuring designs based on original posters
Limited Edition booklet featuring new writing on the film by Glenn Kenny, an interview with George Armitage by critic Nick Pinkerton, critic Leila Latif on Alec Baldwin in comedy, an archival feature on Fred Ward and an overview of reviews
Limited edition of 3000 copies, presented in full-height Scanavo packaging with removable OBI strip leaving packaging free of certificates and markings.

An unusual and adult-themed film with a great humourous streak with fantastic performances that really deserves better recognition.


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