Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Mulholland Falls

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
4 out of 10
Extras Rating:
N/A out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: R

Starring:
Nick Nolte as Max Hoover
Melanie Griffith as Katherine Hoover
Chazz Palminteri as Elleroy Coolidge
Michael Madsen as Eddie Hall
Chris Penn as Arthur Relyea
Treat Williams as Colonel Nathan Fitzgerald
Jennifer Connelly as Allison Pond
Daniel Baldwin as McCafferty
Andrew McCarthy as Jimmy Fields
John Malkovich as General Thomas Timms
Kyle Chandler as Captain
Ed Lauter as Earl
Larry Garrison as Perino's Maitre d'
Chelsea Harrington as Lolita

Special Features:
Original Theatrical Trailer

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Synopsis:
This film was originally released in 1996. The following text is from the DVD cover:

"In the brutal war against murder and corruption, there's one place where the battles are won. Nick Notle, Melanie Griffith, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Treat Williams, Jennifer Connelly, Andrew McCarthy and John Malkovich star in Mulholland Falls, a brilliant, high-powered crime thriller electrified by hard-hitting action, forbidden passion and shocking intrigue.

In the 1950's Los Angeles, Max Hoover (Nolte) leads an elite squad of four detectives who play by their own rules, dealing with criminals the only way they know – with deadly force. But when they investigate the murder of a beautiful young woman (Connelly), the detectives find themselves embroiled in a high-level conspiracy…and faced with a terrifying secret that the US government is determined to keep hidden – at any price."

Mulholland Falls is rated R for sexuality, violence and language.

The Movie:
Mulholland Falls has been praised as a "brilliantly made film", a great example of "film noir", etc. etc. etc. Despite all that, I really didn't like it. First and foremost, the murder mystery was way too predictable. I figured out who killed Allison Pond, how she was killed, and why she was killed in very short order. Everything you need to know in order to figure it out is shown during the opening credits of the movie. The characters in the film seemed to be 10 steps behind me as the audience. I kept hoping that they would offer up some sort of surprise along the way, but it never happened. I was even able to predict which characters would die as soon as they appeared on the screen. Because of this, I got bored and annoyed with the film quickly.

And despite being inspired by "film noir", I found the dialogue and atmosphere a bit too cheesy to enjoy. As Nolte and Connelly make love, silly jazz music plays in the background. As he breaks up with her, the dialogue is so stereotypical that it seems like parody. I could go on, but you get the point. You're either going to love the noir atmosphere or hate it. I hated it with this script.

Despite my distaste for the story and the dialogue, I thought the film had a couple of things going for it. First and foremost is the excellent cast. There is quite an array of actors here. Leading them is Nick Nolte as Max Hoover. You could call him the Dirty Harry of the 1950's. I enjoyed him best when he was playing "bad cop" with someone. He plays the role well and actually appears sane here unlike in real life. Supporting him is Chazz Palminteri as Elleroy Coolidge, his partner. He's likable and chatty, a sure sign he'll be dead by the end of the picture. Michael Madsen and Chris Penn play the other cops, but they aren't given as much to do. John Malkovich is good as General Thomas Timms, but he seems horribly miscast as a U.S. Army General. He doesn't have that rugged exterior like you would expect. Treat Williams is good as Colonel Nathan Fitzgerald and Daniel Baldwin seems like a clone of his brother Alec as McCafferty. Jennifer Connelly is beautiful and naked a lot as Allison Pond, but she doesn't do much else dramatically. Melanie Griffith is barely used as Katherine Hoover and Andrew McCarthy has a brief but memorable role as the gay Jimmy Fields. You'll see a few other familiar faces from TV in supporting roles like the guy from CSI and the lead from Early Edition.

The other high point is that the film looks great. The costumes, props, and locations are all firmly planted in the 50's. You get a real feel that you're in that era. The camerawork is also nicely done. Every shot has a lot of noir feel to it.

The Extras:
The only extra included on this DVD is the original theatrical trailer, so I'd hardy consider that a bonus.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, I wouldn't recommend this film to you unless you were a Nick Nolte fan. Otherwise I'd recommend you watch L.A. Confidential or some other similar movie that has a better story.

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