Heaven's Prisoners (1996)

This talky, terribly-plotted thriller stars Alec Baldwin as Dave 
Robicheaux, an ex-New Orleans cop who gets ensnared in a murder-
mystery after a light-plane crashes into the bayou beside his 
fishing boat.  He and his wife Annie (Kelly Lynch) rescue a little 
Salvadorian girl (Samantha Lagpacan) from the wreckage and that's 
when the trouble begins.  The other major players include a local 
drug lord (Eric Roberts), his scheming wife (Teri Hatcher), a 
soused stripper (Mary Stuart Masterson), and a shady DEA agent 
(Vondie Curtis Hall).  Everyone knows everyone else and it makes 
for a collective that's curious but never compelling.  

Based on the book by James Lee Burke, HEAVEN'S PRISONERS is so 
badly plotted that entire *scenes* seem to be missing.  Early on, 
we have no idea of why Dave and Annie keep the child to themselves.  
Nor how they eluded both the Coast Guard and the FAA.  Later, Dave 
is reunited with a drug-abuser who appears seemingly clean and 
sober and without any explanation.  Huh?  The whole movie is like 
this, perhaps the result of some unkind cuts that happened during 
the eighteen months that the film sat on the shelf.  Whatever the 
reason, somebody should tell director Phil Joanou (FINAL ANALYSIS) 
to recut this mess.  In its present form, HEAVEN'S PRISONERS runs 
only two hours plus change, but it feels like four.  (Rated "R"/134 

Grade: D

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: May 19, 1996

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