There’s something deeply appropriate -- and equally deeply stupid -- about IMDB’s Plot Synopsis for Down by Law. It reads: “This plot synopsis is empty. Add a synopsis.” And one is tempted, deeply tempted. But there’s no point, because plot is not the great driver of this wonderful movie. Indeed, I'm sort of amazed that they decided its genre is “Comedy/Drama”. Is it a buddy movie? Not really, the buddies go their separate ways, seemingly with no love lost. Is it a jailbreak movie? Yes, except that there’s not even the vaguest suggestion of a plot to escape, nor any indication of how they did it. Is it noir? You bet, but only for a while. What it is, is a pleasure, from start to finish. An absolute, total treat. Best of all, the dreamy Ellen Barkin’s stone-cold delicious melt-down early on in the movie. I just learned, listening to the Christmas episode in the middle of July, that she’s The Voice of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. So fine.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

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