Annal: 2004 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Motion Picture

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 2004.

Film:Dirty Pretty Things

Dirty Pretty Things

Stephen Frears

The luminous Audrey Tautou (Amelie) stars in Dirty Pretty Things, a riveting thriller about an illegal immigrant in London named Okwe (Chiwetal Ejiofor, Amistad), a doctor in his homeland who now works days as a taxi driver and nights as a hotel desk clerk. When a hooker tells him there’s a mess in one of the hotel’s bathrooms, Okwe finds a human heart in the toilet. He soon discovers a snare of desperation, poverty, and black-market body organs—and finds that his only friend, a Turkish hotel maid (Tautou), may be the next to be caught.…

Film:The Cooler (2003)

The Cooler

Wayne Kramer

The premise of this swinging Vegas picture is enough to carry it over its narrative rough spots. The unluckiest sap on the planet (William H. Macy) is employed as a “cooler” at a casino; his very presence can chill the hot streak of any patron on a roll. He’s valued by the old-school manager of the place, a role given a two-fisted, bourbon-swilling incarnation by Alec Baldwin. Macy means to quit, but then he falls for a waitress (the excellent Maria Bello, from Permanent Midnight)—might his luck be changing? The subplots are pretty much a mess, but the…

Film:Monster (2003)

Monster

Patty Jenkins

Critics have universally praised Charlize Theron’s performance in Monster, and the praise, for once, is astonishingly deserved. The gorgeous star of The Italian Job and The Cider House Rules vanishes into the character of Aileen Wuornos, a real-life serial killer and prostitute who murdered at least seven men in Florida. Monster traces her relationship with a young woman named Selby (Christina Ricci, The Ice Storm, Buffalo 66), which intertwines with Wuornos’s murder spree. This remarkable movie finds compassion for…

Film:Mystic River

Mystic River

Clint Eastwood

Superior acting, writing, and direction are on impressive display in the critically acclaimed Mystic River, Clint Eastwood’s 24th directorial outing and one of the finest films of 2003. Sharply adapted by L.A. Confidential Oscar-winner Brian Helgeland from the novel by Dennis Lehane, this chilling mystery revolves around three boyhood friends in working-class Boston—played as adults by Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, and Kevin Bacon—drawn together by a crime from the past and a murder (of the Penn character’s 19-year-old daughter) in the present. These dual…

Film:Runaway Jury

Runaway Jury

Gary Fleder

Based on the bestseller by John Grisham, Runaway Jury is a slick thriller that’s exciting enough to overcome the gaps in its plot. The ultimate target has been changed: Grisham’s legal assault on the tobacco industry was switched to the hot-button issue of gun control (no doubt to avoid comparison to The Insider) in a riveting exposé of jury-tampering. Gene Hackman plays the ultra-cynical, utterly unscrupulous pawn of the gun-makers, using an expert staff and advanced electronics to hand-pick a New Orleans jury that will return a favorable verdict;…

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