by Brad Nelson 5/25/14
Sometimes it’s difficult figuring out why I have such great taste and the movie-going population, at large, does not. This movie is rated a meager 6.2 at IMDB.com. I guess you could say this is a grown-up film not made for text-messaging attention spans.
Mulholland Falls is a good modern film noir/crime drama. It’s set in the fifties and the attention to detail for that period is superb. It might have been a smart move to film this in black-and-white, but it works in color.
This is one of the best roles I’ve seen Nick Nolte play. He leads a team of easy-going (but extremely hard-hitting) cops, a special unit of four who report directly to one boss. In that way, they have more than a little latitude to handle things the old-fashioned way. And Nolte gets a lot of mileage out of his simple sap (a heavy leather, probably lead-filled, truncheon).
The cast is superb. You have no less than 10 name (or semi-name) actors: Nolte, Melanie Griffith, Chazz Palminteri (who we saw recently in his excellent role in A Bronx Tale), Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Treat Williams, Jennifer Connelly, Daniel Baldwin (well, not so name), Andrew McCarthy (no, the other guy), Kyle Chandler (Early Edition), and John Malkovich.
Nolte, as detective Max Hoover, is on the case of a murdered woman. And things become a little personal because he has a past with the woman…as do a couple other people, including Malkovich who plays General Thomas Timms, head of an atomic energy commission project out in the desert. It’s all hush-hush. Big bomb craters, fallout, and all that.
The plot isn’t overly complicated (a godsend, if you ask me — too many movies simply add on layers of convolution instead of writing a good movie). It’s the characters who drive this film, especially Nolte. He’s a good guy (generally speaking) but dangerous as hell with his sap. Chazz Palminteri plays his sympathetic and loyal partner, Elleroy Coolidge. He’s a nice guy…but can bust heads with the best of them. And he’s got Nolte’s back even if Nolte doesn’t necessarily want him there.
This is not a car-crash-a-minute kind of movie, so it’s not likely to appeal to the ADHD sugar-rush crowd. That’s not to say that this is an “intelligent” film, but it is somewhat of an adult film in that you’re looking at arguably real people, not dumb, spazzed-up, goofball stereotypes. If you like film noir, you will like this movie. If you think Spider-Man 3 is the best thing since Citizen Kane, then go have a nice day and don’t spill your fruit juice.
Thanks to Glenn for mentioning this film. He didn’t necessarily endorse it, but he did say that Chazz is good in it, which he is. • (2021 views)