Jesse Stone: Night Passage
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A prequel to "Stone Cold" in the series of Jesse Stone novels by Robert B. Parker, the story picks up after Jesse Stone is fired from the Los Angeles Police Department. He becomes an unlikely candidate recruited by the town board of selectman to become police chief of Paradise, a small town on Boston's North Shore. The board hopes his failed experience will keep him from digging too deep into the town's secrets. Hungover on his first day on the job, he must investigate a domestic abuse case that ends up leaduing to a money laundering scheme perpetuated by a manager of a local bank.
How Tom Selleck's world-weary cop Jesse Stone became the police chief of sleepy Paradise, Mass., is revealed in this engaging prequel to the first made-for-TV Stone feature, Stone Cold (2005). Selleck is once again well cast as the rough-around-the-edges Stone, whose drinking problem gets him ejected from the Los Angeles police force; he soon finds himself the head lawman in a small New England fishing village, where his slow dissolution continues until a routine domestic disturbance case reveals connections to money laundering and murder, with several of the town's most affluent names as possible suspects. Selleck is well-matched by veteran scene stealer Saul Rubinek, and there's good work by Polly Shannon as a city attorney who becomes Stone's romantic interest, and Stephen Baldwin as an ill-tempered local. Fans of author Robert B. Parker (on whose books the Jesse Stone films are based) and Selleck won't be disappointed by this smart thriller. --Paul Gaita
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Great story lines, and great acting;I recommend all of the Jesse Stone movies.
The same thoughtful, measured, "artistic" feel of "Stone Cold" permeates this film, as well. Some people find this approach slow and a bit dull, but I like it. My only quibble this time out is a conclusion that wraps every plot point up a bit too quickly and neatly during the course of one scene: some explanation, a shooting, a little more explanation, a little more shooting, all questions answered. The scene also shows us Jesse stupidly putting himself completely at risk as he attempts to spring his trap.
But, as said, that's just a quibble, and the movie is generally very good. Just the fact that these Jesse Stone movies are clearly aimed at literate adults who enjoy skillful, nuanced dialogue and artful cinematography is enough for me to give these productions a strong recommendation.
"Night Passage" is based on the first "Jesse Stone" novel of the same name by Robert B. Parker, best known for his "Spenser" novels and television series. Why this story, which "introduces" the Stone character when he initially moves the ex-cop from LA to Paradise, MA, was not made first (it's the 4th Stone flick) makes one wonder about what the studio suits were thinking.
What this film lacks in explosions and car chases it more than makes up for in character development, mood and style. Tom Selleck absolutely "nails" the character as the demon-plagued Jesse, trying to make a fresh start as Police Chief in a small New England town, away from the crime and grime of LA, along with his drinking problem and his inability to delete lingering feelings for his unfaithful ex-wife.
Parker should feel fortunate that the conversion to film didn't transform his literary character --as television and movies usually do-- into just another cliche-ridden, cardboard action figure. I still think people should be shot for what Hollywood did to "Matt Helm" years ago.
All four films are well-done and well-acted and well worth the time to appreciate the nuances of the characters and the setting.