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   HOLLYWOODLAND (2006) 

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CAST
Adrien Brody
Diane Lane
Ben Affleck
Bob Hoskins
Robin Tunney
Lois Smith
Joe Spano
Molly Parker
Jeffrey DeMunn
Kathleen Robertson
Caroline Dhavernas

DIRECTED BY
Allen Coulter

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 126 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Drama/Crime


SYNOPSIS: The complicated life and controversial suicide of George Reeves is investigated by a private detective who finds that there are reasons to suspect that Reeves may not have killed himself after all.

BOTTOM LINE: Mood and mystery make up the bulk of the storytelling in this take on an infamous Hollywood suicide/murder. The filmmakers use a fictional character – a down-and-out detective played with just the right amount of intelligence, belligerence and desperation by Brody – to attempt to "decipher" how actor George Reeves really died. Since the only people who know are dead, and they aren't talking, the plot goes back and forth between three different, somewhat plausible scenarios for what happened the night he died. Unfortunately, Reeves isn't the main character of the piece, so we're not given much of a reason to care who the actual killer is. Affleck does an admirable job, but the character is left incomplete, leaving one to wonder if he was important enough to anyone for them to bother wanting to kill him. Brody has to battle both corrupt cops and the overpowering Studio bosses to find his answers.

Certainly the suicide angle is an obvious one, since he wasn't very happy with his life or the constant downward direction of his career. The ladies in his life, played deliciously by Lane and Tunney, certainly had cause to be angry with him, but he was worth more to them alive than dead, so the jealously angles, compelling to a degree, are hard to swallow. Though the plot isn't all that exciting, the art direction, costumes and score are entrancing, recreating the glamorous front and seedy underbelly of the business of Hollywood. How Lane escaped the attention at award time is beyond me. As Reeves sugar mama, she reels him in with her charm, sass, and access to power, but leaves him only desperate to get out from under her thumb. It's a wicked, ballsy turn that older women will certainly relate to. Affleck and Brody hit all the right noted in their performances as well, and Tunney is just plain obnoxious, but in a good way. This is a film that had all the right pieces, yet fails to capture either the imagination or the heart. Nostalgia buffs will be entertained, but those not enamoured with tales of Old Hollywood will most likely be bored.




"Since when do suicides miss twice and start over?"

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