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Brown's Requiem

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Michael Rooker, Selma Blair. Modern tale of police corruption and murder in Los Angeles. Based on the novel by James Ellroy. 1998/color/97 min/R.

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Rooker, Big Daddy Wayne, Jack Wallace, Will Sasso, Selma Blair
  • Directors: Jason Freeland
  • Writers: Jason Freeland, James Ellroy
  • Producers: David Rubin, Erik Kritzer, John McDonnell III, Kit Jennings, Mark Ezralow
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: April 4, 2000
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305815178
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,655 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Brown's Requiem" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Jason Freeland's "Brown's Requiem" is proof that you don't need to spend 100 million dollars to make a great movie. "Requiem" is an adaptation of James Ellroy's first novel, and like the book it is high on suspense and twists. The plot is typical Ellroy: an emotionally battered man atones for past sins by involving himself in a labrythian mystery. Michael Rooker, as Fritz Brown, gives a phenomenal performance filled with subtlty and sly acting. The cast is filled with many great character actors including Selma Blair, Brad Dourif, Valerie Perrine, and the late Brion James. Freeland's script is exceptionally tight and is remarkably faithful to the complex novel. Check this movie out!
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Format: DVD
I didn't like how the story resolved itself in the end, but the cast and production were great. The dialogue was terrific. Amateurish or self-consciously neo noir? Perhaps, but it did a better job as an homage to that genre than "Brick" or "Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang." I didn't read the book so I am just judging the film on its own terms. I say it's worth two hours of your time and a few bucks.
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Format: DVD
Uneven attempt to adapt James Ellroy's first novel. Features an excellent cast --- William Sasso's portrayal of Fat Dog Baker is worth the price of admission --- but Michael Rooker in the starring role seems badly miscast for an Ellroy-style "hero." Brown's relationships with Jane Baker and Walter are never developed; these characters appear only briefly so it's difficult to feel much emotional resonance (in the novel these relationships are crucial to Brown's motivations and why he acts as he does). A worthwhile entertainment for hard-core mystery fans, but it does make one yearn for the depth and complexity of the novel.
Nothing special about the DVD. The audio is two-channel Dolby and the transfer is letterboxed but not enhanced for 16x9 TVs. Extra features are limited to a trailer and cast and crew bios, although there is an audio commentary by the director.
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Format: DVD
The Bottom Line:

The modern-day equivalent of a Poverty Row feature, Brown's Requiem lacks high production values and frills but generates a lot out of a little and features Michael Rooker at his anti-social best; if you like neo-noirs or James Ellroy you should watch this underappreciated little film.
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Format: DVD
I missed James Ellroy's debut novel on which this film was based, but the adaptation has the same voiceprint as a number of his subsequent literary blockbusters. Anti-hero protagonist with some deep emotional scars. Sleazeball contacts on both sides of the scrimmage line. Conflict between the two strong enough to strike sparks. Complicated plot, involving cops, politics and the corrupt inner workings of either or both.

Fritz Brown/Michael Rooker is the lead here, dumped by the LAPD for a drinking problem and working now as a car repossessor and P.I. He's hired by concerned Freddie "Fat Dog" Baker/William Sasso to get the dirt on Sol Kupferman/Howard Gould, a shady fiftyish businessman his 17-year old sister Jane/Selma Blair has moved in with. Early on in the surveillance, whaddya know, he witnesses a suspicious exchange between Sol and Internal Affairs cop Haywood Cathcart/Brion James. Cathcart instigated Fritz's ouster from the force; he's not a dear friend.

From there, the plot starts to get complicated. I think I understood about half of it, the half that's explained (under extreme pressure from Fritz) by a third prominent bad guy. And I'm totally lost as to why a couple of prosperous creeps like Sol and Haywood would have been personally handling their transfers to start with. Or how after the routine 'drop the case' beating in which Fritz incurs a possible concussion and broken ribs, he appears to be fine 24 hours later.

But I'm probably thinking too hard. Those last two question marks might be examples of what critics refer to when suggesting to forget about plausible plot details, just relax and enjoy the action. Of which there is some on a small scale here, along with solid acting and a presentable script I'm guessing is pretty faithful to the Ellroy model. In a noir film you don't need much else.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A private detective is hired to free a duped young sister by a man that has ties to an illicit activity. The client also has ties to some illicit activity. A very good dramatic mystery. I had to watch it from start to finish.
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