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Blue Sky Review

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Tommy Lee Jones plays an American military scientist researching radiation levels after the nuclear tests of the '60s. He uncovers a conspiracy, while his flirtatious wife (Jessica Lange) does her best to uncover just about everything for her husband's CO (Powers Boothe).

★★★★★

Stuck on the shelf for three years thanks to the collapse of its studio, Orion, this is only now getting a token release on the occasion of Jessica Lange's Oscar nomination. Given that the now deceased Richardson's last two decades were hardly on par with his '60s output (Tom Jones etc.) and that Lange tends to turn her vehicles into dreary parades of emoting, expectations are not high - but this film turns out to be one of Richardson's best.

In the early '60s, Carly Marshall (Lange) is a mother-of-two married to career army officer Hank (Jones) and given to swanning around in imitation of Bardot or Monroe, raising the temperature of Hank's fellow officers and occasionally going into flurries of hysteria and promiscuity. When Hank, who is involved in the nuclear test programme, is transferred from Hawaii to the desert, Carly throws herself into amateur theatrics and flirting with the C.O. (Boothe). Hank's marital problems, though, are eclipsed by his doubts over the safety of bomb tests, but the army uses his unstable wife to discredit the complaints he raises.

Blue Sky has its moments, though it's hard not to wish the camera would get away from Lange long enough to let Tommy Lee Jones' equally good but less showy performance register.

The soap stuff is washed away by more interesting conspiracy business, but the whole thing falters at the end as the problems are all too easily resolved to convince. Nevertheless, it's worth the asking price.