Annal: 1991 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Motion Picture

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 1991.

Film:The Grifters (1990)

The Grifters

Stephen Frears

Annette Bening twists like a mink on a leash through Stephen Frears’s adaptation of Jim Thompson’s novel. This may be the perfect trope for the moral hysteria that coils around a mother, her son, and his girlfriend in this slender but highly pleasurable neo-noir. Small in effect and local in scope, the film is about small-fry, attractive, bloodless con artists who view the world as neatly split between ropers and suckers, grifters and squares. “Grifter’s got an irresistible urge to beat a guy that’s wise,” an old-timer tells Roy (John Cusack). And yet the three…

Film:Goodfellas

Goodfellas

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese’s 1990 masterpiece GoodFellas immortalizes the hilarious, horrifying life of actual gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), from his teen years on the streets of New York to his anonymous exile under the Witness Protection Program. The director’s kinetic style is perfect for recounting Hill’s ruthless rise to power in the 1950s as well as his drugged-out fall in the late 1970s; in fact, no one has ever rendered the mental dislocation of cocaine better than Scorsese. Scorsese uses period music perfectly, not just to summon a particular time but to…

Film:Presumed Innocent

Presumed Innocent

Alan J. Pakula

Rich with ambiguity, this smooth adaptation of Scott Turow’s bestselling mystery novel stars Harrison Ford as Rusty Sabich, the prosecuting attorney assigned to a case involving the murder of a beautiful, seductive lawyer (Greta Scacchi) with whom he’d been having a secret affair. After the investigation gets off to a slow start, damning evidence points to Rusty as the prime suspect. His career is destroyed when his superior and secondary suspect Raymond Horgan (Brian Dennehy) sets him up for the fall. Bonnie Bedelia plays Rusty’s wife Barbara, who is not above…

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