Starring: Denzel Washington, Robert Townsend, M. Emmet Walsh and Sheryl Lee Ralph
Rated: R Mystery, Drama
Set on an island in the Caribbean, The Mighty Quinn is about two men, Xavier Quinn (Denzel Washington) and Maubee (Robert Townsend), who have been great friends since childhood. However, as the years have passed, they have gone separate ways: Maubee is a small-time thief and Xavier has risen through the ranks of law enforcement to be chief of police.
Their bond is tested when the wealthy Donald Pater is found murdered. The owner of a luxurious hotel on the island, Pater had a strained relationship with a maid, Isola (Tyra Ferrell), a native of the island and Maubee’s girlfriend. An unbelieving Xavier rushes around the island, trying to ascertain the truth behind the death. However, various obstacles, including a shady representative of Pater from the United States, suspicious government officials, and his estranged wife, Lola (Sheryl Lee Ralph), make his search more complicated.
Is Xavier right about Maubee? Can Maubee trust Xavier still? You will enjoy watching this film to find out!
Filmed primarily in Jamaica, The Mighty Quinn was a hit among moviegoers and critics, including the highly-discriminating Roger Ebert. In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Ebert praised, “The Mighty Quinn is a spy thriller, a buddy movie, a musical, a comedy and a picture that is wise about human nature. And yet with all of those qualities, it never seems to strain: This is a graceful, almost charmed, entertainment.”
The actors, the music, the setting, the direction and the production all comprise a winning combination called The Mighty Quinn. Ebert attests to this greatness, writing, “If [Denzel] Washington is the discovery in this movie, he is only one of its many wonderful qualities. I’ve never heard of the director, Carl Schenkel, before. I learned from press releases only that he is Swiss and has directed a lot of commercials, but on the basis of this film he’s a natural. He is able in the moderate running time of 98 minutes to create a film that seems as rich and detailed as one much longer. He uses his Jamaican locations and interiors so easily that the movie seems to really inhabit its world, instead of merely being photographed in front of it. And the music helps; reggae somehow seems passionate, lilting and comforting, all at once. The Mighty Quinn is one of the year’s best films.”
The Mighty Quinn was based upon the A. H. Z. Carr’s novel, Finding Maubee (1971). The film’s title originates from a song of the same name that was written by American music legend Bob Dylan.