One Paragraph Movie Review: In the Heat of the Night
Two hundred and fifty-fifth film: In The Heat of the Night, a movie about a Mississippi murder, racism, and Sidney Poitier looking pissed off. Look, this is a crime film with a Quincy Jones/Ray Charles soundtrack, I could like it blindfolded in a soundproof box. A hardened, paunchy Southern police chief is forced to rely on a visiting black homicide detective to solve a murder in a segregated hick town, and the fraught, irritable relationship between the two is cranky and delicious. Even though the murder mystery is compelling, it’s secondary to the brutal, confederate-flagged bigotry and how that plays out — from mild scowls to improvised-weapon violence — in scene after scene. Townsfolk are portrayed a single hair this side of redneck caricature, but Poitier’s Mr Tibbs is stylish, suited, and quietly condescending. It’s great, and it’s sweaty, and the police chief chews gum the entire time. Yep. Four cotton baron bitch-slaps out of five.