Just Another Day in Paradise
The "Jesse Stone" movies have continually impressed audiences and the 4th movie "Jesse Stone: Sea Change" is no different as it continues to be interesting and entertaining. But there is something quite clever about "Jesse Stone: Sea Change" because whilst we have the same structure with the movie being half about Chief Stone's personal battles and the other half about a couple of crimes it manages to buck the trend of other murder movie series. By that I mean rather than Chief Stone dealing with some new major murder we have the boredom of the quiet Paradise leading to him investigating an old unsolved murder and in that simple fact it makes it that bit more believable.
Life in Paradise is becoming a bit mundane as the daily routine for Chief Stone (Tom Selleck - Monte Walsh) involves handing out parking tickets and with his ex-wife wanting him to stop calling for a while there is a dark cloud forming over his head as he starts drinking again. Under the guidance of Dr. Dix (William Devane) who suggests he finds a way to keep busy Jesse delves into the small collection of Paradise's unsolved cases and finds himself investigating a 15 year old case of a murdered bank teller who was killed during a robbery. At the same time Jesse also has to deal with Cathleen Holton (Mika Boorem) who claims she has been raped by a group of men aboard a boat docked in Paradise.
So there are really 4 things going on in "Jesse Stone: Sea Change" we have the continuation of the series as Luther is still in a coma after being shot in the previous movie. We also have the continuation of Jesse's own battles, that of turning to drink when he is bored as well as his daily calls to his ex-wife. We then get typically the small case which crops up in which case we have Cathleen who claims to have been gang raped aboard a boat. And finally we have the big case with Jesse delving into the unsolved murders to try and get to the bottom of a bank robbery 15 years earlier. All of which makes this 4th Jesse Stone movie typical in structure and it is full of those typical moments such as Jesse's relationship with his staff and the way he deals with the people he meets be it confidently with criminals or flirtatious with a woman.
But whilst typical in structure "Jesse Stone: Sea Change" is for me a darker movie because it starts with Jesse struggling with his demons. The job in Paradise has become boring as he hands out parking tickets and has to deal with the pen pushers on the town council. Plus his ex-wife has a new man and wants Jesse to stop calling every night which leads to that black cloud over his head and a night of heavy drinking. It does make it a more sombre affair because you always think that Jesse is one drink away from doing something daft.
Now what for me is both simple and clever is the way we get the major case for Jesse to get busy with because it is a fault of so many of these cop dramas that big cases keep rolling along in a small town. So the fact that Jesse decides to distract himself and stop the drinking by investigating an unsolved murder from 15 years earlier is simple and clever. What is also nice is that with this being an old case some old faces return such as Hasty Hathaway, the money laundering bank manager from "Jesse Stone: Night Passage". But the good thing is that whilst it helps to have watched the previous movies to understand the situation between Jesse and Hasty you can watch "Jesse Stone: Night Passage" with out having seen the others. And without going in to detail the actual case which Jesse investigates is interesting and dealt with in a typical Chief Stone sort of way as is the case of the 18 year old girl who claims to have been raped.
Not everything about "Jesse Stone: Sea Change" works for me as the storyline surrounding Luther is a bit too quirky, too forced especially in a series where a lot of the humour comes naturally. But as a whole "Jesse Stone: Sea Change" is a good movie with all the returning actors doing a good job with a few new faces adding to the joy which is Paradise.
What this all boils down to is that "Jesse Stone: Sea Change" is another fine movie in the Jesse Stone movie series which manages to stay to the formula but make it seem fresh through a few clever twists. It is a little darker than the previous movies but then that adds to the conflicted character which is Jesse Stone.
Tags: Jesse Stone Movies