4 August 2007 | gradyharp
The Title Describes the Content
SLOW BURN is a film that has much to like, much promise, and a cast of trusty actors to bring it off. The problem with the result is in director/writer Wayne Beach's hands and especially in the editing job on the completed film. It is like watching a 'follow-the-bouncing-ball' film: there are many surprises and subplots and altered identities that keeping a score card of where the story is going is a bit difficult.
Reduced to the bare bones the plot takes place in a 24 hour period during which District Attorney Ford Cole (Ray Liotta) and his Assistant DA Nora (Jolene Blalock) are in a showdown with a significant crime boss Luther Pinks (LL Cool J). Nothing is as it seems, as irritating flashbacks attempt to prove, and in the end the good guys and the bad guys are difficult to appreciate. There are some excellent performances by reliable actors such as Taye Diggs, Mekhi Phifer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Bruce McGill, but the plot depends on a significant point of the confused racial identity of Jolene Blalock's character, and though she acts well, the part would have been better served by an actress like Nicole Ari Parker, to name just one.
The problem with this supposedly enigmatic thriller is that the astute viewer will see through the plot far too early. But given the quibbles, it is good to see these actors at work, especially the underused Ray Liotta. Grady Harp