Hollywood will kill you. That’s the simple message presented in Hollywoodland, a mystery/suspense picture with strong film noir undertones.
Director Allen Coulter brings the mysterious death of George Reeves, an actor best known for portraying Superman in the late 50s, to the big screen in an intriguing manner. By overlapping events in Reeves’ life with troubled private detective Louis Simo’s (Adrien Brody) investgation, the door opened for conspiracy theories.
Hollywoodland explores three versions of Reeves’ death but no definite conclusion is reached. And the question remains: Did Reeves commit suicide or was he murdered by Hollywoood’s most powerful?
Diane Lane and Bob Hoskins portray Toni and Eddie Mannix. Eddie Mannix was an unlikeable executive for MGM and it is believed he had his hand in other notorious Hollywood murders. His wife Toni had an ongoing affair with George Reeves that ended under bad terms. Their involvement in the Reeves death is debated throughout Hollywoodland.
Packing on thirty pounds, Ben Affleck gives perhaps the best performance of his career as Reeves. After winning the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival, Affleck is a serious contender for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. Unfortunately for Affleck (and the audience), the film itself doesn’t have much more to offer.
When Hollywoodland needs to stand out, it lags along. Adrien Brody fails to mold Detective Simo into an interesting character. The pictures main point, Hollywood eventually destroys you, is made early on making the plot can seem boring and the movie tedious.
This is no LA Confidential.
Updated October 11, 2010