Finally got a chance to see "Hollywoodland"
with Ben Affleck and Diane Lane. What a sad, haunting film that was. It really moved me. As period films go, it beats recent contenders "The Good German" (even though it had my man Clooney in it) and "The Black Dahlia." Both films had muddled stories to me, although the physical filmmaking on "The Good German" was first-rate.
"Hollywoodland" treats the real-life suicide of 1950's "Superman" actor George Reeves as a murder mystery, with layer upon layer of suspects, motives, and shady characters. Affleck's turn as the troubled Reeves, a B-actor at best who yearned for the A-list spotlight, eerily parallels his own real-life career troubles. This is the great indie role that can perhaps bring him back from tabloid hell. He has already won several festival awards for his performance.
Adrien Brody also stars as the shady, cynical private eye who starts out using the Reeves case as a springboard into personal fame, but as the story gets darker, he rediscovers his own humanity; scared straight.
I like Adrien a lot. He can go from high-brow indie stuff like this to chillin' with Funkmaster Flex on "Punk'd," Spike Lee in Madison Square Garden, or kissing Halle on the mouth at the Oscars. Versatile and down without being wiggerish. My man.
"Hollywoodland" is very period specific. No anachronisms here. Everything feels like 1959. Not that I was born yet, but still. The acting in both "The Good German" and "The Black Dahlia" felt too contemporary, but here the production apes some of the acting styles of the times.
Many recent films I've seen are having trouble with their endings. I feel like I have invested time I can't get back into watching these movies, the least they can do is have satisfying endings. This is why writers and directors get the big bucks. I'm not one for existential discussions, trying to figure shit out for myself. If I wanted to do that, I'd write my own story.
"Hollywoodland" stuck the ending, though. Sad and a bit sentimental, all plotlines closed, with redemption for Brody's character and a deeper understanding of George Reeves' story, none of which I knew before. A John Coltrane tune plays delicately under the closing credits.
Class all the way. Highly recommended.
-AO :: 4:58 PM ::