Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ★★ 1997 (R)

An all-star cast can't save Eastwood's grossly mishandled adaptation of John Berendt's best-selling novel on the eccentric citizens and lush scenery of Savannah. New York journalist John Kelso (Cusack) is sent on assignment to report on the glamourous Christmas parties of famed citizen and ham Jim Williams (Spacey, oozing his usual silky charm), only to be detoured by Williams shooting his male, live-in companion. Was it cold-blooded murder or self defense? With Eastwood's clumsy direction, a dragging running time, an overabundance of characters taken verbatim from the book (including drag queen Lady Chablis playing herself, unfortunately), and a dull romance between Kelso and local flower Mandy (Eastwood's daughter), the rich subject which made the book a top-seller for four years is all but lost and the answer to the above question moot. “Midnight” has the star power for greatness, but looks certainly are deceiving. 155m/C VHS, DVD . Kevin Spacey, John Cusack, Jack Thompson, Alison Eastwood, The Lady Chablis, Irma P. Hall, Paul Hipp, Jude Law, Dorothy Loudon, Anne Haney, Kim Hunter, Geoffrey Lewis; D: Clint Eastwood; W: John Lee Hancock; C: Jack N. Green; M: Lennie Niehaus.