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Directed by Sam Raimi
Running time 83 minutes
With cult icon Sam Raimi as director (he sandwiched this film in between his two Evil Dead films) and the Coen brothers as writers, many will rush to this film in the hope of unearthing some overlooked incunabula. The groans of disappointment will be heard suburbs away. Just about everything that could be wrong is wrong with Crimewave. The idea was that making a live action film in the same style as a cartoon would be deliciously funny. However, at least done like this, it’s not.
The Coen’s script, which opens characteristically and promisingly with a chronic loser (Reed Birney) about to be electrocuted pleading that he’s innocent of murder and then relating his story in flashback, goes nowhere in a flurry unfunny slapstick gags not made any funnier by the cartoon sound effects. The cast is uniformly ordinary and Raimi doesn’t manage to inject anything of interest into the flatulent mess. Crimewave is not so much overlooked as rightly forgotten about.
FYI: If you want to see how to do this kind of concept well, check out Chuck Russell’s The Mask (1994)