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  • All of these reviews worth their salt catch on to the fact that this is a great adaption of the book. What they fail to mention is that the locations in this movie really give it that dark, haunting feel that is the underbelly of Los Angeles. LA is not all bright, blaring sunlight and perfectly straight rows of palm trees. The city's most interesting aspect is hidden in its shadows and the film captures that look perfectly.
  • It is definitely Michael Rooker who carries this film with his likable working-man persona.He really manages to show the heart and humanity under his character's rough exterior and when he needs to be menacing he delivers the goods;the scene where he takes a pair of brass knuckles to a creep in order to beat some information out of him is worth the price of admission alone. He is well-served by a snappy script that captures the gritty funk of Ellroy's writing. Capable direction by Jason Freeland keeps things moving nicely. There are excellent character turns by Will Sasso, Brad Dourif,and Barry Newman. And Harold Gould takes a bow as a slimy mobster.I am surprised this isn't more celebrated. Good show, all around.
  • I am amazed that, given the reviews of the film (all apart from two rate the film highly), how this film managed to score so poorly. Indeed, I think it's a huge shame that it didn't get a better cinema release in this country. I only saw it on video.

    I thought it was excellent thriller in the noir tradition. There are three standout elements. First, the plot and feel of the film. These are faithful to James Ellroy's book, more so than in the case of LA Confidential. I was amazed how much of the detailed plot was included (and believe me Ellroy plots are detailed!) Secondly, Cynthia Millar's haunting piano score was probably largely responsible for my second viewing of the film. Thirdly, Michael Rooker's performance. I had only ever remembered him as the villain in Sea of Love, a part he played well but not outstandingly. Here, though, his hangdog expression served him excellently. He is a modern Robert Mitchum, born to play noir leads. Actually he's better, Mitchum was too smooth.

    Highly recommended. Go see it and give it more deserving marks on the board than it has at the moment. I haven't mentioned Jason Freedland's contribution, but I hope to see more from this talented director, given his superb first attempt.
  • RUKIA2221 April 2005
    I watched this film on DVD and it was just a chance to catch Michael Rooker in the lead role of Fritz Brown, an ex-cop, repo man, and part time detective. Michael plays him with streetwise honesty and toughness but makes it believable and yet shows the weaknesses, and vulnerabilities and flaws of the character. I really enjoyed watching him play these kinds of characters and it's a nice change from seeing him not play a villain or a psychopath. This is an excellent film noir and the best I've ever seen James Freeland has done a brilliant job with this film. The beautiful music score in the opening and closing for the film just fits together with the sad tone of the character. Michael Rooker is one of my favourite actors and I think he did an amazing job in this role he is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood I hope to see him in more future films.
  • The film succeeds at the most basic level: it creates a vivid lead character, and portrays a specific time and place accurately and memorably.

    Fans of noir should not miss this undeservedly obscure rendering of Ellroy's first (and most autobiographical) novel.
  • babs-3419 June 1999
    Really really a good film. I loved the gutsy choices this director made. This is a movie no one should miss. I'm a big fan of James Ellroy and truly believe that Jason Freeland's filmic rendition of this novel is fabulous. If you loved LA Confidential, you'll love this movie.
  • I stumbled onto this film and was not really sure what it was about but the guy in it is from Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer and he was great. The film was very dark and I came out of the theater wanting to have a beer. I don't know that I can do a great job explaining it but it was more than a detective story. It was about this guy and he really didn't want to drink and he gets this case...a weirdo caddie wants him to check out who's playing around with his sister. The film made me feel like I sometimes feel when my life sucks and I guess that was the point. So if you're looking for fun see something else, but if you like'em dark, check out this
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Warning: SPOILERS! I'm suprised no one else seems to have noticed the Chinatown homage this movie does. Kudos to Michael Rooker I'd like to see him in more lead roles. I also liked the irony of Fatdog being both a big fan of Hitler and unknowingly being the son of a Jew. This is just what you want from a small film. A modest production yielding good, but modest, results.
  • During the London Film Festival it's difficult to do much reading at all, but there are compensations. Adrian Wooton is the new director of the festival, and he brings a deep love of crime movies to it. So it's no surprise that Brown's Requiem should be one of the centrepieces of the two-week reelathon.

    Brown's Requiem is the third feature film based on an Ellroy book. James Harris' Cop, with James Woods in the title role was based on Blood On The Moon, and last year's LA Confidential shot Ellroy into the mega bigtime of properties who are muy caliente.

    First time director Jason Freeland's is probably the first of these films to set out to be a faithful adaptation of Ellroy. Fans of the Demon Dog will argue forever about the fidelity of LA Confidential, whether in spirit or in look, but close as it stays to Ellroy's basic story, Brown's Requiem brings a neo-noir sensibility to Ellroy which gives it an interesting spin of it's own.

    Freeland encountered Ellroy listening to one of his patented manic interviews on the radio in LA, and decided to start at the beginning with his books. When he thought he was ready to adapt Ellroy for the screen, he found Brown's Requiem was the only property available, in the post-LA Confidential rush to option his work.

    The two biggest changes Freeland does make are both beneficial. First he changes the female lead from a woman who gets involved with Fritz Brown to a younger girl who doesn't. This is both more realistic, given Brown's personality (truer to the real Brown than even Ellroy was!) and it also provides a better plot motivation, particularly in encouraging Brown's fantasies of being the white knight, and theoretically a more shocking hook (which sadly is somewhat dissipated).

    Second he loses the musical sub-text by which Fritz Brown and Bruckner combine to make him a sensitive tragihero. This was a bit too literary a conceit, and one which Ellroy soon abandoned in his own writing. Only at the end of the film, where Brown gives his friend Hank an imaginary Viking funeral, do we get a hit of that grandiose dream.

    Neo-noire puts its emphasis on the dumbo nature of its would-be heroes. Michael Rooker, as Fritz Brown, is a cross somewhere between John Malkovich and Woody Harrelson on the intensity meter, and if occasionally he remains too sure, and too strong, his physical presence is always undercut by a knowing voice-over narration. Freeland has done an excellent job casting other roles: there are welcome cameos for Valerie Perrine (excellent in bringing depth to a brief part), Barry Newman, and Brad Dourif.

    Also impressive is 23 year old William Sasso, as 'Fat Dog', who sets the story in motion, and who is, to my mind, the Ellroy figure in this book (and movie). Freeland admitted this was a tough part to cast: agents told him repeatedly "my client isn't fat, he's big." Sasso leaps into the part with such vigour it's a shame he can't carry a bigger load. This highlights the soft spot of this film: in following out the plot, Freeland has to short change some of the supporting cast. In the same way we only get hints of the incestuous cesspool lurking under the story, so things like Brown's relationship with Hank is never really given the depth to carry the force of Brown's final regrets. This, however, is a small criticism of an assured first feature film. Freeland has the feel, and an excellent score by Cynthia Millar helps build the emotional tension. This is an adaptation of Ellroy which will surely please fans of the books. (taken from crime time 2.3, p. 175-176...Michael Carlson).
  • Brown's Requiem is, in my opinion, modern day Film Noir at its best. Jason Freeland's obvious understanding of James Ellroy's notoriously clever dialogue paved the way for one of the best adaptations I've ever seen. The casting choices were right on and this was one of the few crime stories where I didn't guess the ending after the first half hour. It definitely kept me on my toes. Well Done!
  • I recently saw Brown's Requiem at a film festival and was completely impressed. Being a fan of film noir, I really believe that director Jason Freeland knows his material well. He was able to use the classic narrative style of the detective movie in a modern way. I was also happy to see Michael Rooker in a leading role again. He is an important actor that I would like to see more of. If you see this movie playing in the theatre near you, go see it!
  • ...Brown's Requiem tells the story of Fritz Brown, a private investigator and part time repo man who was at one time an officer in the LAPD -- and is currently an on-the-wagon alcoholic. Fritz is hired by an obese golf caddy who calls himself Fat Dog (MadTV's Will Sasso) to watch over his sister (Selma Blair) who is currently shacked up with a wealthy older man. Fritz soon finds himself involved in a complicated plot involving Fat Dog's murder, a former football player turned racketeer and the Internal Affairs chief who had Fritz thrown off the force (the late, great character actor Brion James).

    I've not read Ellroy's novel (it's one of the few Ellroy novels I haven't read) but I understand it was his first. If this film is a faithful adaptation, then it serves as the filmic representation of the birth of Ellroy's signature devices: flawed "heroes," gruesome violence, perversions, sadism and a filthy Los Angeles underbelly, all of which are on display here. Star/producer Michael Rooker does a fantastic job conveying a character who strives for redemption and allows the possibility of it to pull him into a world of murder and depravity he was not ready for. The direction is tight, the mystery is intriguing and the film is littered with memorable bit roles by such character actors as the aforementioned Brion James, Brad Dourif, Lee Weaver and Tobin Bell.

    Fans of film noir should give this one a go, as should fans of star Michael Rooker and author James Ellroy. It's not perfect but it surely deserved better than the direct-to-video release it received here in the U.S.

    A solid 7/10.
  • Only the third film adaptation of crime writer James 'mad dog' Ellroy's work and the first to be finished since the critical and commercial success of LA Confidential. Although more modestly budgeted than that film, this US Indie is nonetheless an excellent cinematic translation of Ellroy's very first novel - true to the spirit, energy and atmosphere of the book. A gripping, tough story of LA' s underbelly, it follows Fritz Brown, ex-cop, car repossession man and occasional private eye as he accepts a deceptively simple surveillance job. Needless to say the job lands Brown in deep trouble, caught up in a fraud scam and running foul of his worst enemy in the police force. A labour of love for director Jason Freeland, Brown's Requiem is a good looking, tautly paced thriller with an excellent lead role for the underrated Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Cliffhanger) and a great supporting cast of notable character actors. (review by Adrian Wootton, London International Film Festival)
  • Brown's Requiem is a neat little slice of Los Angeles film noir in the tradition of L.A. Confidential and Mulholland Falls. It's based on a book of the same name that's written by James Ellroy, who actually wrote L.A. Confidential as well, so the crime vibe here is thick, rich and genuine. Michael Rooker is flat out fantastic as Fritz Brown, a world weary, hard bitten private investigator who is hired by a rotund caddie named Fat Dog (Will Sasso) to find his kid sister (Selma Blair) a wayward girl who has apparently run off with a her sugar daddy, and may be in danger. Brown noses around and before he knows it he's neck deep in police corruption, violence and murder. It's convoluted, but film noir always is, and when the plot is left to bake in the California sun, it's going to be nicely sinewy and labyrinthine to please all the filmgoers put there who fancy themselves gumshoes and like to decipher the happenings along with the protagonist. The trail leads Brown to sinister police captain Cathcart (the late Brion James), brutal thug Richard Ralston (Jack Conley) and many other bottom dwelling nasties. This is a rare lead role for Rooker and he's riveting, fitting this genre protagonist like a glove. His innate menace and gruff whisper of a voice are put to good use as the hangdog tough guy takes care of business in style. Watch out for Kevin Corrigan, Tobin Bell, Christopher Meloni and a brief but darkly funny cameo from Brad Dourif. Where L.A. Confidential hid it's grit beneath a sheen of glamour, Brown's Requiem wears it proudly on its seedy sleeve, a scrappy little cousin to Confidential, and a sturdy little noir mystery boosted by Rooker's work.
  • Brown's Requiem is a gritty, realistic, detective story. Michael Rooker is top notch and very believable. His supporting cast is excellent.

    The casting was spot on. William Sasso of Mad TV fame is spectacular. He really is a versatile actor that needs more and larger roles. Brad Dourif adds some veteran skills and Selma Blair gives a good performance as an enticing teen with trouble always in tow.

    If you like realistic suspense/thriller situations you will love this.

    It lifts the veil of the shiny city and shows the dirty, dangerous underbelly of a large city filled with unpredictable misfits.

    Dark, not so perfect, lead character with all his flaws and fears trying his best to do right against the odds. Rooker can be VERY menacing when backed in a corner!
  • Well handled if not particularly memorable neo noir tale, based on the novel by James Ellroy, who'd hit the big time the previous year with the movie adaptation of his story "L.A. Confidential". Written for the screen by its director, Jason Freeland, it guides us through an appropriately twist laden plot, with some commendably dark if also admittedly uncomfortable elements such as incest among its revelations, and its setting is typical noir stuff - the seedy under belly of a city (Los Angeles) that one may not automatically associate with such a place. Michael Rooker is solid and extremely well cast as a flawed but not unlikable protagonist, part time repo man and part time private eye Fritz Brown. Fritz is approached with an assignment by young, corpulent caddie "Fat Dog" Baker ('MADtv''s Will Sasso, delivering an impressive dramatic performance) to watch the man's kid sister Jane (Selma Blair, in fine sultry form). Naturally, Fritz will learn that he's not being told everything, and will uncover, among other things, a link to a former nemesis, an Internal Affairs detective named Cathcart (the late, great screen villain Brion James). "Brown's Requiem" features a wonderfully effective, mournful, sometimes jazzy score by Cynthia Millar, and maintains a true noir feel, with nice widescreen cinematography by Seo Mutarevic. The story is ultimately tinged with tragedy; Fritz's problem with drink will continue to dog him after this story ends, and he won't even be able to truly enjoy an unexpected development that occurs late in the game. What's really cool is seeing this very interesting collection of character actors, familiar faces, and notable veterans that populates the landscape. First off, it's a treat to see Rooker, Brad Dourif, and Tobin Bell all in the same movie, 10 years after "Mississippi Burning". Bell in particular is a hoot in a role that's nothing like the kind of bad guy roles he's often played. Also appearing are Kevin Corrigan, Harold Gould, Barry Newman, William Newman, Jack Wallace, Lee Weaver, Kevin Jackson, Jack Conley, Jennifer Coolidge, and Valerie Perrine. They make this worth sticking with since the pacing is of the deliberate type that may not suit the tastes of some viewers. Overall, the movie is nothing great, but good enough and fun enough to watch. Worth a look for genre fans. Seven out of 10.
  • Michael Rooker is an antihero private investigator, who gets involved with a nasty case revolving around incest and murder. Rooker is excellent as the boozing detective. Selma Blair is more in the background, while Brion James and Brad Dourif have small roles. Although the story is pretty straightforward, there are a couple of minor surprises. The bad guys seem to underestimate Rooker, and that often works to his advantage. The final showdown with Brion James is both exciting and satisfying. Character development is good, the pace is acceptable, and overall, "Brown's Requium" is entertaining, although at times the film is a bit confusing ....... - MERK
  • First I want to say that I love James Ellroy. You will certainly find L.A. Confidential in my top 10 for best movies of the 90's.

    So I really looked forward to this movie, but it really disappointed me. The story concentrates the most on the main character, here played by a decent B-movie actor: Michael Rooker. Unfortunately, he just can't handle with his personage. The film could have greater, with a lesser depressing tone, a bit more tempo and a better written adaptation. The actual crime story is hard to follow and is told here on a very uninteresting way.

    I saw this in the movie theatre, but I think this should have been going directly on video. I can almost certainly say that almost every Ellroy fan will be disappointed. A shame, a pity, just forget about it...hopefully the next Ellroy film will be better. The first thing I wanted to do after seeing this film, was watching L.A. Confidential again...
  • Beats me how people can describe this adolescent exercise as film noir. True there's a gun & a bottle & a dame & the lead is a private eye, but that ain't what makes the genre, folks. This thing plays like reheated TV cop show stuff - lots of bloody beating & lousy continuity - with a dash of Chinatown memories thrown in. Pretty hard to watch beyond the first 10 minutes. You want contemporary feel, watch anything by John Dahl.
  • A film of no direction, little plot-line, an absence of meaning and leaves you with a feeling of being financially raped and abused ... where the $5 million went on making this film is anybody's guess!

    Hugely disappointing and shouldn't have even been released as a 'direct to video' film ... one of the worst movies of the decade

    R,M,S & D
  • Although the film has not a big budget i seek for a good overlooked movie, but i only found a decent movie and a bad adaptation. Yeah, it´s faithful, but the novel is great, i love it and the movie could have been amazing with a better script, better actors and above all a better director.

    I hope The Black Dahlia can be made with a good director. If Fincher finally doesn´t make it, someone like Michael Mann, Anthony Minghella, Christopher Nolan or Curtis Hanson again.
  • joen-317 May 1999
    I just spent about 1.5 hours waiting for the movie to begin. It didn't. The story is vague and uninteresting, the speed in the movie is absent and the voiceover irritating. I can't understand why movies like this one are even distributed.