Directed by: Allen Coulter
Starring: Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, Bob Hoskins,
Released by: Focus Features
Short: Based on the real-life death of the
original Superman, George Reeves, this mystery
has plenty of promise but ultimately fails to
Truth, Justice and…Ah, Who Cares?
Turns Out to be Something of a Snore
Allen Coulter's "Hollywoodland" has all the
makings of a classic Los Angeles whodunit: the scandal-wrapped
suicide of a famous actor, a publicity-seeking private
eye and big stars (Adrien Brody, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane
and Bob Hoskins). Plus, parts are shot in black and white,
which makes it de facto cool.
why the heck doesn't it work?
starts out well enough. It’s the early 1950s, and
Affleck plays George Reeves—a down-on-his-luck,
one-time movie star (he was in “Gone with the Wind”)
who is forced to work in the new, two-bit medium called
television. But fortune smiles and he becomes Superman,
an instant hero to kids nationwide. He also takes up with
the gorgeous Toni Mannix (Lane). As the wife of a studio
head (Hoskins), Toni has enough money to bankroll Reeves
like a boy toy, and she does...until he falls for another
woman. Soon, he turns up dead.
official line is that it’s a suicide, the result
of an overdose of fame and no new work in the pipeline.
Reeves’ mother thinks otherwise and hires gumshoe
Louis Simo (Brody) to investigate. Again, all promising
what’s the problem? Storytelling and style. This
is director Coulter’s first feature film (his impressive
TV directing credits include “The Sopranos”
and “Six Feet Under”), and he falls into the
trap of imitation. How many jazz trumpet riffs do we need
to remind us that this is film noir? Plus, the story never
quite gels, compounded by the fact this is not the actors’
best work. Affleck, not one of our greatest actors to
begin with, preens, mugs and tries on a Jimmy Stewart
accent for size—all of which makes you squirm in
your seat. And Brody, well, he is one of our
most talented actors, but its hard to tell from this film.
in all, unlike Reeves' super character, "Hollywoodland"
is a lot less powerful than a locomotive.