Beautifully directed and acted noir, with a heartfelt and immersive sense of time and place. Cheadle, Washington and Sizemore all give excellent turns, but crazily neglected director Carl Franklin deserves far more credit for this film than many critics give him.
This is back before Denzel started phoning it in. I didn't much care for the choices in cinematography, but the story and the acting is great. What appears to be a fairly simple case quickly turns deadly. He thought he could outsmart them. When he couldn't, he had to call Mouse. Mouse is the master of chaos. He's both a help and a hindrance. They should have made more, but they couldn't. America is racist.
Solid performances all round and a meticulously created time period, but Franklin's fidelity to the rather mediocre source novel ultimately works against the film. Not bad by any means, but not as tense and hard-punching as I usually like my neo-noirs.
"The Human Stain" could be an alternative title for this. Ezikeal "Easy" Rawlins is in financial mess. He lost his job & can't pay the house-loan. Although it looks to him that something is wrong, he agrees to find a missing woman & get paid for it. Suddenly he finds himself in difficulties of vital significance. 39 y/o Denzel Washington acting very fine, interesting mysterious story; very much entertaining. Solid.