Playing Superman on TV brought aspiring film actor George Reeves stardom, but it also held him back as far as more serious acting roles went. When a 45-year-old Reeves was found dead in his home in 1959, his death was ruled a suicide, and attributed to this B-level frustration. The result of a single bullet wound, Reeves's death caused controversy in and around Hollywood, where popular theories related his death to either his starlet fiancé, Leonore Lemmon (Robin Tunney), or his famously ongoing and unique relationship with Toni Mannix (a fabulous Diane Lane), the wife of mob-connected MGM head Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins).HOLLYWOODLAND explores Reeves's life and tragic end from the perspective of Louis Simo (Adrien Brody), a private investigator hired by Reeves's mother shortly after his death. Cutting back and forth between scenes of Reeves's life and Simo's detective work, the film draws parallels between two men kept from appreciating the present by dreams of future grandeur. Ben Affleck returns to form as Reeves, a man whose hindering celebrity status may have reminded the actor of his own: despite breaking onto the scene with an Academy Award for writing GOOD WILL HUNTING in 1997, Affleck's career was at one point overshadowed by a romance as familiar to the public as Superman's cape. With close attention to detail, first-time director Allen Coulter creates two distinct worlds specific to their time, Simo's noir-ish and seedy L.A. forming a bleak contrast to the glamorous, formal Tinseltown Reeves so longed to be embraced by. An accomplished act for a first time director, HOLLYWOODLAND offers viewers a believable look into Hollywood's most glamorous bygone era. Strong performances and stylish filmmaking help fuel a mystery without a solution.
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3 stars out of 4 -- "Affleck is superb....Lane, as always, excels with both sexiness and scournfulness..."
Premiere - Glenn Kenny (09/01/2006)
3 stars out of 4 -- "[A] steadily engrossing movie that sees Reeves as human and treats his life and death with intelligence and compassion."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (09/21/2006)
"[N]o false refinement obscures the gusto with which the cast chomp down on their tasty roles: Brody slithering and prowling, Diane Lane willing her sensual beauty to weariness...[and] Bob Hoskins snarling and potent as her husband..." -- Grade: B+
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum (09/15/2006)
"[The filmmakers] want to bend Mr. Reeve's biography as an actor-c**-gigolo into a tragedy, and Mr. Affleck is more than up to the task."
New York Times - Manohla Dargis (09/08/2006)
"Affleck must intuitively understand Reeves' hunger for respect, and he is moving in the role. Bob Hoskins brings raffish charm as well as vulgarity to his portrait of MGM kingpin Eddie Mannix."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - Stephen Farber (09/01/2006)
3 stars out of 5 -- "HOLLYWOODLAND looks great....A cold look at the entertainment industry's obsession with youth..."
Box Office - Jordan Reed (10/01/2006)
3 stars out of 5 -- "It's the plot strand which features Hoskins that provides Affleck's biggest competition in the thesping stakes. It comes in the form of the fabulous Diane Lane..."
Total Film - Neil Smith (12/01/2006)
"To the extent that HOLLYWOODLAND captures the last years of this showbiz dinosaur, without condescension or sentimentality, it succeeds wonderfully."
Sight and Sound - Andrew O'Hehir (12/01/2006)
3 stars out of 5 -- "It's an interesting transition that's being made here, as though it's not just Reeves dying but old Hollywood itself."
Uncut - Damon Wise (01/01/2007)
4 stars out of 5 -- "Affleck gives a career best performance as the troubled Reeves, and all involved beautifully immerse themselves in the period."
Ultimate DVD - Nikki Baughan (03/01/2007)