Heaven’s Prisoners
Alec Baldwin, Eric Roberts, Kelly Lynch, Mary Stuart Masterson, Terri Hatcher
Directed by Phil Joanou
New Line Home Entertainment
132 minutes

This is one slow-paced, correct that, old lady in a walker with a wheel missing paced mystery DVD. Heaven’s Prisoners is the page-to screen adaptation of James Lee Burke’s second Dave Robicheaux mystery novel series. All the right choices were made in this movie save one: how long it is. This film will try even the most generous viewer’s patience quite a few times.

Dave Robicheaux (Alec Baldwin), ex New Orleans cop, now runs a fishing outfit in a bayou somewhere. He and his wife Annie (Kelly Lynch) are out fishing when a small plane crashes near them, they rescue the sole survivor, a little girl, adopt her, and then Dave goes looking for trouble in all the right places. Robicheaux, an alcoholic in remission, believes he is protecting his family by stirring up a lot of trouble while he would have been much better off just letting things be. This leads to a few very dramatic scenes that, unfortunately, are much further in the movie than most viewers will have the patience for.

Heaven’s Prisoners is a faithful adaptation of the novel, unfortunately. Consequently, and for a long while, the plot simply consists of Dave going out somewhere and confronting some bad guy, the bad guy hitting back, and Robicheaux then going after the bad guy again for putting him and his family in danger. Add to this a more than generous amount of scenes badly filmed in bars so dark it’s hard to see and by the time the movie actually gets interesting most people have given up on it.

For those who care, the movie features a full frontal of Terri Hatcher, a pretty good part for Mary Stuart Masterson, and lots and lots of violence.

The last problem with this Heaven’s Prisoners is that after being released a couple of years after it was made and sat on a shelf somewhere it probably discouraged other adaptations of the early James Lee Burke novels.

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