User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 56 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 56
  2. Negative: 16 out of 56
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  1. ArnoldP.
    Sep 9, 2006
    6
    I have a lot of ambivelence about this absolute mess of a film. The actors were fascinating to watch, star star turns all, in a muddled script, that seemed poorly directed and to top it off the worst sound mix, not able to hear lots of the dialogue, yet it still kept me interested. It could have been so much better.
  2. ChadS.
    Sep 11, 2006
    6
    "Hollywoodland" is made problematic by too many characters. [***SPOILERS***] Although it's interesting that the gumshoe detective has a family (most of the times the private eye is a loner), every time Louis (Adrien Brody) returns to his ex-wife and son, the movie stalls. There's also the subplot of the other case he's working on which is an even greater time-killer. Kit "Hollywoodland" is made problematic by too many characters. [***SPOILERS***] Although it's interesting that the gumshoe detective has a family (most of the times the private eye is a loner), every time Louis (Adrien Brody) returns to his ex-wife and son, the movie stalls. There's also the subplot of the other case he's working on which is an even greater time-killer. Kit (Caroline Dhavernas), who only materializes in their shared apartment, seems a little extraneous, too. The screenwriter should've made her a detective. But the period detail in the flashbacks is convincing. Playing a mediocre actor, Ben Affleck gives a witty, and more importantly, a knowing performance. Look at how we first meet George Reeves. His harshest critics will quip that he was never better. "Hollywoodland" is uneven, but a film worth checking out. Expand
  3. Fantasy
    Sep 11, 2006
    4
    Star power galore; a story to die for; and the end result, is a discombobulated mess. The actors are all top caliber but the dialogue is difficult to understand. [***SPOILERS***] And each time a storyline gets going, it is ripped away at the wrong time and nothing ever gets resolved. The ending is inconclusive and suggests nothing. As a result, the film leaves the viewer wanting more and Star power galore; a story to die for; and the end result, is a discombobulated mess. The actors are all top caliber but the dialogue is difficult to understand. [***SPOILERS***] And each time a storyline gets going, it is ripped away at the wrong time and nothing ever gets resolved. The ending is inconclusive and suggests nothing. As a result, the film leaves the viewer wanting more and thus is forgotten the minute you leave the theater. This could have been so much more in the hands of a veteran director. Avoid. Expand
  4. JPP.
    Nov 6, 2006
    5
    At first glance, the trailers for 'Hollywoodland' make the film out to be a seemingly compelling murder story. Upon actually seeing it though you'll soon realize, after about the first twenty minutes, it's merely a sub par one. Once it begins you're in for an almost dismal ride that ends up going nowhere. One of its issues is that all the "likely" murder scenarios At first glance, the trailers for 'Hollywoodland' make the film out to be a seemingly compelling murder story. Upon actually seeing it though you'll soon realize, after about the first twenty minutes, it's merely a sub par one. Once it begins you're in for an almost dismal ride that ends up going nowhere. One of its issues is that all the "likely" murder scenarios lack any evidence. The only thing that even holds each person as a suspect is some sort of motive, which only adds to the film's already stagnant disposition. Next you have the ghastly performance given by Affleck. The fact he plays Reeves is ironic in a sad way. Here we have a mediocre actor playing a mediocre actor who hates himself because he's viewed by the public as a joke. The only difference is Affleck has yet to come to the realization that he himself is also a joke. Yes, I will give him some credit, there are a couple of split seconds where he actually does really well, but its nothing really worth mentioning. As for Brody, all I'll say is he's okay. He's not great, he's not lousy, just plainly okay. Its Lane that truly shines here. She does an absolutely amazing job with her role as the emotionally unstable Toni Mannix. I hope when Oscar time comes around she gets a nod. Sadly, all the other members of the cast present only ordinary performances. I'm disappointed in the way 'Hollywoodland' turned out. I believed it was going to be really good, and all it ended up being was just fair. I suppose I shouldn't have had such high expectations for a film that's director, Allen Coulter, had only done TV shows up until this point. I will admit, it's not all bad. The style and retro visuals were nice, but all in all, the only thing offered is an outstanding performance from Diane Lane. Much like the story told in the film, 'Hollywoodland' is nothing more than a film filled with all glitz and no glamour. Expand
  5. MarkB.
    Nov 9, 2006
    6
    There are very good reasons why Orson Welles made Jerry Thompson a shadowy, almost faceless figure in Citizen Kane. Thompson was the reporter who was researching the life and death of magnate Charles Foster Kane, and though well played by William Alland under the circumstances, was wisely relegated to being a visually peripheral figure as Welles rightly focused the movie on Kane and the There are very good reasons why Orson Welles made Jerry Thompson a shadowy, almost faceless figure in Citizen Kane. Thompson was the reporter who was researching the life and death of magnate Charles Foster Kane, and though well played by William Alland under the circumstances, was wisely relegated to being a visually peripheral figure as Welles rightly focused the movie on Kane and the people in his orbit. Would that Hollywoodland's writer (Paul Bernbaum) and director (Allen Coulter) had watched and studied Citizen Kane just one more time! Their subject matter--the life and death of TV actor George Reeves and whether the latter really was a suicide or a murder--is fascinating, and so are many of its observations on show business and popular culture in the 1950s. It's especially poignant to watch the reaction of American children who faithfully watched and worshipped Reeves as Superman when they learn that he died in such a shocking and ignominious manner; compare their response to that of today's infinitely more sophisticated and jaded kids (who, if they watched Reeves' famously cheesy TV series at all would laugh it off the same way we adults would smirk at any movie directed by Edward D. Wood) and you really do have occasion to wonder whether or not technological leaps have hardened us as human beings. And even though struggling actor Reeves took the Superman role with great reluctance knowing that he'd almost surely be typecast, it's important to remember that 99% of all potential actors, then as now, don't get anywhere near even Reeves' measure of recognition and success and maybe to ask whether Reeves would've been infinitely happier and better off if he'd simply been more grateful for the success he had. (The more recent example of Gilligan's Island comes to mind; cast members Russell Johnson, Dawn Wells and the late Bob Denver embraced and eventually profited from their identification with their roles while Tina Louise lived a life of frustration trying to live hers down.) Ben Affleck, a fine actor whose own career has been marred by a few too many unfortunate choices and a couple of notorious tabloid romances that overshadowed his work, is nevertheless highly underrated, as repeat viewings of Changing Lanes and Chasing Amy will prove; his obvious identification with Reeve makes this a true career performance. Diane Lane, as an aging Hollywood producer's trophy wife with whom Reeves has a rejuvenating affair with, is so astonishingly lovely that she could singlehandedly reverse Hollywood's shameful treatment of actresses who reach a certain age and start a "Don't Trust Anyone UNDER 30!" trend, and Bob Hoskins is effectively both hearty and menacing as her husband. For these reasons all the Reeves stuff works, but unfortunately there just isn't enough of it; the majority of the movie is a framing device in which a sleazy Tinseltown detective (Adrien Brody, whose idea of characterization here is to smack his gum loudly, as though rudeness equals depth) learns all sorts of Life Lessons as he learns more and more about Reeves. We in turn learn far too much about the gumshoe's family life, his affairs, his other clients, and so on, as three little words burrow further and further into our brain and find permanent residence there: WE. DON'T. CARE. What a shame that one-third of this movie, one of the most cogent and intelligent Hollywood self-examinations in recent years thanks largely to Affleck's gritty, Oscar-worthy performance, is buried beneath the other two-thirds, which constitutes a glorified, ultraextended popcorn-and-bathroom break. Expand
  6. Robertxxx
    Oct 9, 2006
    4
    Brody is so miscast that it sinks the whole film.
  7. LewisP.
    Sep 23, 2007
    4
    The problem with 'Hollywoodland' is that the film's protagonist (played by Adrian Brody) is not involved in solving the central question posed by the film. Brody's private investigator's ordeal occurs when he tries to take his 7 year old son out for a little get-together while he's drunk without his estranged wife's permission. After the Act 2 ordeal, he The problem with 'Hollywoodland' is that the film's protagonist (played by Adrian Brody) is not involved in solving the central question posed by the film. Brody's private investigator's ordeal occurs when he tries to take his 7 year old son out for a little get-together while he's drunk without his estranged wife's permission. After the Act 2 ordeal, he subsequently experiences an epiphany and at the end of the flick we presume he'll be back in his son's good graces (and also feels good about himself to boot). Unfortunately for us he's never involved in solving the film's central question--did George Reeves commit suicide or was he murdered? Maybe this is a film that shouldn't have been made at all since questions about Reeve's death remain unanswered to this day. I'm not sure why people see Reeves as a failed actor. To my mind he was a better Superman than any actor who came after him. It's just unfortunate that there simply aren't that many good scripts out there for good actors. Ben Affleck was better playing Reeves' 'darker' side but didn't really capture his charm or sense of humor. The female actors were much better in this flick. Ultimately, the film lacked suspense and probably could have dispensed with the whole Brody story line (a sub-plot masquerading as the major plot). Expand
  8. DizzleBrizzle
    Feb 14, 2007
    4
    The character study of George Reeves, his sad life, and his even sadder death, was the highlight of this film. It is a shame most of the film focused on the mundane story of Adrien Brody's character. It was one of those films where you ask yourself, "who cares?" when the credits roll.
Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Don R. Lewis
    70
    Features an excellent cast all of whom shine. Affleck as Reeves has never seemed more charming and Brody’s Louis Simo is pretty much a scumbag who still manages to gain our empathy.
  2. Ultimately falls short of reaching the pleasingly pulpy heights of an "L.A. Confidential" or a "Chinatown" despite those obvious aspirations.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    First-time scripter Paul Bernbaum's framing story, designed to stir up suspicion that George Reeves was a murder victim rather than a suicide, unfortunately proves far less intriguing than does the melancholy tale of a limited actor reaching the end of the line during a transitional period in Hollywood.