Written by Paul Bernbaum
Directed by Allen Coulter
Running Time: 2:06
for language, some violence
and sexual content.
Hollywoodland could have and should have been an interesting film, but the real life story wasn't all that interesting and Ben Affleck is still a downer, no matter what movie he's in.
In 1959, George Reeves was found dead in his bedroom from an apparent suicide. From the time it occurred to now, there are rumors that he was actually murdered. Louis Simo is a down on his luck private investigator, who is hired by Reeves' mother to look into the story. Simo is mostly in it for the money and the chance to get his picture in the paper. The film cuts back and forth between Simo's investigation, and the life Reeves had leading up to his death.
I think the biggest problem I had with Hollywoodland is simply that George Reeves' life wasn't very interesting. Other than playing Superman on TV, there was nothing about him that we haven't seen before. He was an actor who thought very highly of himself, felt that playing Superman on TV was beneath him, couldn't find a job after the show went off the air, and killed himself. There are so many actors in the world that can barely get any work, and this guy complains because he got to play the icon of icons? Why should I feel sorry for him? He willingly got into an affair with a married woman because a) she was hot and b) he thought she could get him some work. And when she couldn't, he fell for the next girl who showed interest in him, even though she was a raving bitch.
The movie cuts back and forth between Reeves' life before he died, and following Adrien Brody's character after Reeves died. Brody's private investigator is trying to figure out if Reeves really did kill himself, or if he was killed. The official story, back then and now, is that he killed himself, but many people think he was murdered. The movie doesn't answer the question, but instead gives you a few possible scenarios and lets you decide which was most likely. I sort of expected that going in, but I also expected a stronger movie surrounding the lack of closure. Brody's PI for instance, doesn't do a whole lot. In a two hour movie you'd think he'd accomplish something, but most of what he does is stuff people already knew. For instance, he steals a watch from the morgue, sees an inscription on it and sets out to try and figure out who TM is. And when he does, it's supposed to be some kind of revelation that Reeves had an affair. Except during the rest of the movie you see that everyone knew he was having an affair. They would even go out with her husband to dinner. So what did Brody do? Nothing! There was some interest in the mystery, but as you knew there wouldn't be a specific answer given, it was hard to get into it. And with the constant cutting back and forth between stories, it got old real fast. Visually the movie did a good job of recreating the 50s but that also just made the other flaws in the film stand out even more.
Another issue is Ben Affleck. He might be playing a role outside of his normal safe zone, but that doesn't make him good. Every time he came on screen I wanted to get up and leave. When his career first started, he had a charm about him that I couldn't pinpoint, but I knew was there. Now I'm starting to think he just happened to appear in big films that did well despite him. I no longer find him appealing in these big roles. I'd rather see him do cameos from now on. Adrien Brody was decent as the PI investigating the crime. He at least showed some emotion even though he didn't have a whole lot to do. Diane Lane was wonderful as Trixie, the woman Reeves was having the affair with. She's still one of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood and she can hold her own with anyone. The rest of the cast was reasonable enough, but no one else had a large enough role to count. The movie pretty much falls onto the shoulders of the three I mentioned. And unfortunately, none of them could save the slow moving and uninteresting script.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I would pass on Hollywoodland. The life of George Reeves sounds interesting on paper, but watching it on screen, I couldn't help but wonder, who really cares?
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