Hollywoodland

July 12th, 2007 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

Part film noir, part biopic, director Allan Coulter recreates the glamour years of Hollywood in painstaking detail and still manages to peel pack the formica of the suburbs and backstabbing hatred of the champagne lifestyle and nightclubs.

Ben Affleck gives the best performances in years as the late George Reeves, TV’s Superman and an actor who most think shot himself in a fit of depression at not being able to shake his typecasting.

Like many Hollywood deaths during the golden years right up until Marilyn Monroe, rumours persist to this day that someone else pulled the trigger on Reeves. Among the theories are a revenge hit by MGM studio boss Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins), who shared an ‘open’ marriage with beautiful wife Toni (Diane Lane) and whom he wanted to avenge when Reeves broke off the affair he had with her.

Another deals with Reeves’ vindictive girlfriend Leonore (Robin Tunney), her patience finally snapping at his whining for his failed career.

We see them all through the eyes of sleazy, opportunistic private eye Louis Simo (Adrien Brody), who prods around Reeves’ death long after the LAPD have closed the book on it.

It’s a great story well told, as much a document of possibility as a biopic with a very authentic touch and enough elbow room to draw real characters and develop them well.

A few short docos could have had a little more substance whether you’re interested in the Reeves case or the history of Hollywood itself, and there are a few deleted scenes.


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