Friday, June 11, 2010

Tonight's Movie: Jesse Stone: Night Passage (2006)

A few weeks ago I watched the first JESSE STONE movie, STONE COLD (2005), and liked it very much. Tonight I watched the second film in the series, JESSE STONE: NIGHT PASSAGE (2006), which was also excellent.

Somewhat curiously, although NIGHT PASSAGE was filmed after STONE COLD, it's actually a prequel setting up how Jesse was hired as police chief in Paradise, Massachusetts. Jesse has been emotionally wounded by a divorce and drinks too much, but he's also a smart, cagey cop. He may be just what Paradise needs, and vice versa.

It was fun to go back in time and watch Jesse getting to know the supporting characters who were such a big part of STONE COLD. Selleck is terrific, and so is his dialogue. The murder story is interesting enough, but the film is for the most part a character study depicting Jesse getting to know his new beat while battling his demons, including alcohol.

The fine ensemble cast includes Polly Shannon, Kohl Sudduth, Vito Rezza, Stephen McHattie, and John Beale as Stone's friends and colleagues.

Viola Davis, who plays cop Molly Crane, was Oscar-nominated for DOUBT (2008). Alas, it looks like as her career took off she left the STONE franchise; her last film in the series was SEA CHANGE (2007).

Stephen Baldwin -- one of those Baldwin brothers -- is an extremely creepy villain. Watching him playing such a scary weirdo, it's a bit hard to believe that in real life Stephen Baldwin has become very involved with Christian ministries. Saul Rubinek (Donny from FRASIER) is a more hapless bad guy, who will reappear in later STONE movies.

The movie has striking cinematography and locations. Halifax, Nova Scotia, stands in for coastal Massachusetts.

NIGHT PASSAGE was directed by Robert Harmon, who has helmed all of the Stone movies to date. The running time is 96 minutes.


Here's a nice interview with Tom Selleck published when the latest STONE movie debuted last month.

There are four additional STONE TV-movies which have aired thus far, and a couple more are on the way. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the rest of this well-made series and am curious to see how Jesse's life evolves over time.


Blogger Irene said...

After your review of the first movie I found the library system has them all. I also really liked Stone Cold and am currently number one on the wait list for Night Passage. There are a lot of people who want these. I'm probably going to order the third one now so I won't have as long a wait. Thanks for pointing me to these :)

7:54 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Glad to know you enjoyed the first one too, Irene. Let me know what you think of NIGHT PASSAGE. :)

Best wishes,

9:18 AM  

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