It has been a couple of weeks since certain areas of the Internet melted down when the news that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel. Therefore this is a great time to look at the time Affleck played Superman, well kind of, in the movie Hollywoodland.
The film tells the story of the death and life of George Reeves who played Superman in the 1950s. When he is found dead in this house from suicide, Private Eye Lewis Simo, a fictional character played by Adrien Brody, is hired by Reeves mother to find out the truth. Find out why below the break
The film is good fun but nothing special. This is due to the fact that the film keeps reminding you of alternative versions of this story which were done much better. You can’t make a film or write a story about the dark side of Hollywood without comparisons with James Ellroy – most famous for LA Confidential. Sadly Hollywoodland does carry the beautiful brutality of the Ellroy‘s work.
Also the real life story of the death of George Reeves doesn’t have the required levels of conspiracy needed for this kind of story. Reeves committed suicide on that day in 1959 and the film struggles to provides no other alternatives that hold up to any kind of close examination.
Another, and probably better example is Adrien Brody‘s character who tries to play up to the stereotypes of the hardened private detective but fails because he feels like a stereotype. It doesn’t help when one of his co-stars in this picture is Bob Hoskins. His portrayal of Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is one of the best private detective seen in the movies.
Talking of Hoskins, it is he and the other co-stars Diana Lane (who appeared in Man of Steel as Martha Kent) and Ben Affleck where this movie really works. Whenever either of these three are on the screen the movie has an energy that disappears the minute they leave again. Affleck especially give a great acting performance showing all sides of Reeves and really makes you feel sorry for the character who never gets achieves what he wants despite his best efforts. Certainly the last shot of Affleck in the movie doesn’t give you the chills.