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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Hollywoodland’ ends without ending

    In Hollywoodland, Adrien Brody plays a private investigator assigned to look into the death of Superman actor George Reeves. Was it a suicide, or was it Superman overkill?
    In ‘Hollywoodland,’ Adrien Brody plays a private investigator assigned to look into the death of Superman actor George Reeves. Was it a suicide, or was it Superman overkill?

    Brandon Routh, star of this summer’s “”Superman”” movie, may want to rethink his career path. Superman may be made of steel, but apparently the actors who play him aren’t always so tough.

    Based on a true story, “”Hollywoodland”” covers the suspicion surrounding the suicide of George Reeves (played by Ben Affleck), who starred as Superman in the early ’50s TV series. Private investigator Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) is tailing around after wives with infidelity problems until he gets news of the Reeves case.

    “”Rather than choose a side on what really happened that night, (“”Hollywoodland””) doesn’t come up with any position at all.””

    The Los Angeles Police Department decides Reeves’ death was a suicide, but his mother (Lois Smith) is not so eager to close the case. She hires Simo, who reopens the case.

    To get a better understanding, Simo dives into Reeves’ personal life. After struggling to get noticed, Reeves catches the eye of an MGM studio executive’s wife (Diane Lane). While in the affair, he gets the role of Superman on an early-morning TV show. Everything should be going right, but Reeves is stuck in his typecast image.

    ‘Hollywoodland’
    Rated R
    126 minutes
    Focus Features

    In the present time, the question is whether Reeves was really depressed enough to commit suicide over his failing career. Simo finds some clues that don’t quite add up. There are questionable marks on the arm of the corpse, other bullet holes in the floor and the fact that no one called the police until 30 minutes after the death; the evidence just doesn’t match up. Is it enough to prove anything?

    The new pattern in crime thrillers seems to be splicing the future with flashbacks to prove to viewers how everything was pulled off. “”Hollywoodland”” employs this technique, but the filmmakers don’t quite understand how to use it. The editing job of cutting and pasting the flashbacks of Reeves’ life with Simo’s investigation is sloppy; there is no real significant reason for the jumps in time.

    There are no linking shots to tie the two times together. While moving back and forth between the times is necessary, it comes off as completely disjointed. Each transition seems harsh because it’s so startling.

    I don’t know if it’s quite the “”movie of the year”” like the little old lady next to me was telling her friends, but that doesn’t mean it should be ripped to shreds. Affleck does a remarkable job as Reeves, but I don’t know how much of that is from him just playing himself. He has a dazzling sense of charm that adds something to the cheesiness of the Superman role that lights up the movie during his parts.

    “”Hollywoodland”” could have been a really interesting movie if it had taken a stand. Rather than choose a side on what really happened that night, it doesn’t come up with any position at all. Maybe it’s because there are still some doubts now, but after two hours, you expect the film to do something instead of just petering out with no conclusion.

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