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BROWN’S REQUIEM (director/writer: Jason Freeland; screenwriter: from a James Ellroy; cinematographer: Seo Mutarevic; editor: Toby Yates; music: Cynthia Millar; cast: Michael Rooker (Fritz Brown), Big Daddy Wayne (Leotis McCarver), Jack Wallace (Bud Meyers), Will Sasso (Fat Dog), Selma Blair (Jane), Harold Gould (Solly K), Jack Conley (Dick Ralston), Valerie Perrine (Marguerita Hansen), Brion James (Cathcart), Kevin Corrigan (Walter), Brad Dourif (Edwards); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: R; producers: David Scott Rubin/Tim Youd; Avalanche Releasing; 1998)
“Its funeral tone left me with a hang-over.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

U.S.C. film school grad, writer-director Jason Freeland, makes his film debut in this clich√©-ridden neo-noir knockoff about a hardboiled private eye that is based on the first novel by acclaimed crime writer James Ellroy (wrote the novel “L.A. Confidential”).

Michael Rooker is the lowlife Fritz Brown, a former member of the LAPD whose police career was cut short because of his drinking problem but who is now on the wagon and employed as a repo man and also works part-time as a private eye at $500 a day, plus expenses. One day, he’s hired by Freddie “Fat Dog” Baker (William Sasso), an anti-Semitic golf caddy whose 17-year-old sister Jane (Selma Blair, who was 26 years old at the time of filming and looked it) is living with the 65-year-old Solly K. (Harold Gould), a wealthy Beverly Hills Jewish businessman with mob connections. Fat Dog detests Solly K. because he’s a sexual predator, a slimeball, too old for sis and a Jew, and wants the shamus to get Jane out of the house of his sister’s sugardaddy.

Fritz in his investigation crosses paths with crooked Internal Affairs police chief (Brion James), thugs in the LA criminal underworld, multiple homicides and some quirky caddies. It’s filled with a 1940s styled voice-over, a dreary pace and comes to the usual film noir conclusions.

It won the best premiere Jury Award at the 1998 Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival. The B-film suits the talents of Rooker, who makes the most of his role. The trouble I had with it, was that it was all too familiar and its funeral tone left me with a hang-over.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”