My wife picked this film up because of the bargain price and we watched it across Saturday and Sunday night. Across two nights? Yes, because she fell asleep first time around but stayed awake on the next night while I struggled to do so. The film is shot very well, giving a real sense of its Louisiana location, and Tommy Lee Jones gives a typically committed performance as the alcoholic Lt. Dave Robicheaux. It's a slow-burning story, revolving around Robicheaux, his family and a murder he witnessed many years earlier. Unfortunately it's often so slow it's practically stationary.
Several deep south themes are interwoven: slavery and racism, the Civil War, blackmail and corruption, gumbo and Dr Pepper (eh?). There's no denying the atmosphere created, and the acting is generally strong though blues legend Buddy Guy seems to be reading off an autocue (at least he gets a chance to play guitar later). But Southern Comfort, Deliverance or Mississippi Burning have equal atmosphere and are much better films.
The ending has to be one of the biggest anti-climaxes since Scatman Crothers' arrival at the Overlook Hotel (in The Shining). I won't spoil it but suffice to say I laughed and it's not intended to be funny. Some other reviews have mentioned that 20 minutes have been cut from this version and, despite not having seen the full version, I can imagine that as some strands of the story are under-developed.
The blu-ray begins with a series of trailers for straight to DVD chick flicks, all of which are in (sub)standard definition. Fortunately the movie is in HD and is pretty sharp though has signs of over-sharpening during the transfer. The cinematography is beautiful though and it's a shame that the pace or re-editing of the story lets it down.