Based on a true story, Hollywoodland follows fictional private detective Louis Simo and his investigation of the mysterious death of George Reeves, TV.s first Superman in the fifties.
Hollywoodland tells us the story about George Reeves (Affleck), Hollywood loser, who became a star by portraying The Man of Steel on television in the fifties. When Reeves starts a love affair with Toni Mannix (Lane), the wife of MGM: s studio boss Eddie Mannix (Hopkins), and then leaves Toni for another girl, things starts to get ugly.
The death of George Reeves has been held in shadows for the last fifty years and is still unsolved. Hollywoodland gives the audience an insight of how it might have happened.
It is an interesting story of how the old Hollywood was run by important studio bosses and how they controlled the entire city with their power.
Louis Simo (Brody) is a classic film noir P.I who’s in the start of the film is working on a classic husband and wife-case. He thinks that the job is boring and unsatisfying and takes these kinds of jobs just to get a steady income. His own marriage was a disaster, and he’s putting more effort in to seeing his son and trying to talk to his ex-wife. Meanwhile he’s looking for other jobs, and stumbles over the headline that “Superman” has committed suicide. Convinced that it is something deeper behind it, he starts to investigate the case, hopeful to get a big break and make himself a big name out of it. Maybe Reeves didn’t kill himself after all. His seeking for the truth takes him behind the closed doors of Hollywood’s film industry.
The life of George Reeves is shown in a flashback story and escalates the nearer Simo is coming to the time of his death.
It is always difficult to tell a story when you don’t know how’s it going to end and it makes the ending a bit unsatisfying. Did Reeves kill himself or did he get murdered. Either Simo or us get the real answer which leaves the viewer a little bit confused in the end.
Ben Affleck makes one of his best performances here and was also nominated for an academy award for best actor. Affleck is perfect for the role. At the time he was a struggling actor like Reeves himself. Affleck started his career very promising with Good Will Hunting. After several flops such as Armageddon and above all, Gigli and his relationship with Jennifer Lopez, Hollywood saw him as a joke. Just like Reeves. This is Affleck’s revenge to a Hollywood that turned their back on him.
Bob Hoskins and Diane Lane are always worth seeing. Hoskins’s character is cruel and ruthless, and Lanes’s Toni is a real dynamite sexbomb. Academy Award winner Adrien Brody knows what he’s doing and he brings life to his depressed and self-deluded character. Simo’s life and story is told through the case of Reeves. He uses the case to investigate what went wrong in his own relationship.
Overall this is an interesting portray of a lost era and a homage to old times film noir movies. The movie looks very authentic and the art direction team has re-created a very authentic Hollywood and how it looked and worked in the “good old days”. From seedy backstreets to film studios.