Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. 100
    Writer and director Carl Franklin ("One False Move") scores a triumph in using the brooding atmosphere and racial tension of the sun-kissed, seedy City of Angels to reveal character and reclaim a neglected past that ace cinematographer Tak Fujimoto brings to vivid life.
  2. 100
    Director Carl Franklin, who also adapted the screenplay from Walter Mosley's prize-winning novel, isn't particularly concerned with the machinations of mystery plots. Nor is he seduced by the temptations of noir visual style (although Tak Fujimoto's camera work is plenty stylish).
  3. 100
    It's the film's glowing visual qualities, a striking performance by Denzel Washington and the elegant control Carl Franklin has over it all that create the most exotic crime entertainment of the season.
  4. In the process of drawing audiences into the twists and turns of a knotty detective tale, Mr. Franklin and his cinematographer, Tak Fujimoto, open up an enticing and languorous lost world.
  5. Franklin's picture is effortlessly wise beneath its entertaining surface.
  6. 90
    Few films are more assured in their storytelling or build more forcefully, irrevocably toward their resolution.
  7. Reviewed by: Terrence Rafferty
    90
    A modest, skillful, unfussy genre piece that tells an exciting story and lets its more serious concerns remain just below the surface, gently complicating the smooth-flowing rhythms of the narrative.

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