Director: Allen Coulter
Cast: Adrien Brody, Ben Affleck, Diane Lane,
Bob Hoskins, Molly Parker, Lois Smith, Robin Tunney, Kathleen
Robertson, Steve Adams
RunTime: 2 hrs 6 mins
Released By: BVI
Rating: NC-16 (Nudity)
Opening Day: 11 January 2007
A uniquely compelling exploration of fame and identity. The
drama, inspired by one of Hollywood's most infamous real-life
mysteries, follows a 1950s private detective (Academy Award
winner Adrien Brody) who, investigating the mysterious death
of "Superman" star George Reeves (Academy Award
winner Ben Affleck), uncovers unexpected connections to his
own life as the case turns ever more personal. The torrid
affair Reeves had with the wife (Academy Award nominee Diane
Lane) of a studio executive (Academy Award nominee Bob Hoskins)
might hold the key to the truth.
This is a movie about Superman. And how the Man of Steel isn’t
that super after all.
on real life events, the complex movie is an intimate exploration
of what may have caused a speeding bullet to go through TV’s
Superman’s head in 1959. A private detective takes on
the case after it was conveniently dismissed by the local
police as suicide. The uncovering of truth will only prove
too emotionally taxing for the suffering detective as he has
his own inner demons to battle.
chilling aspect of this story is: there is still controversy
today as to whether Reeves really committed suicide. You see,
fame and justice do not exactly go hand in hand – especially
when Reeves had an affair with the wife of MGM’s executive.
you have it, another tale of two men suffering in confusion
and turmoil - another brilliant opportunity for actors to
show off their acting chops.
painfully delivering very fine performances are Oscar winners
Adrien Brody and Ben Affleck. Brody plays the seedy and conflicted
detective with just the right amount of sleaze and level of
dislike. The role is a showcase of conflict between attaining
justice and getting the business done through unethical means.
Underneath that dislikeable character, Brody injects a personal
affection which makes you want to empathize with his vulnerable
fine Brody’s delivery is, he is overshadowed by Affleck’s
portrayal of the infamous TV star. So impressive is this misunderstood
actor, he was rewarded with a Best Actor prize at the Venice
Film Festival in September last year.
how rightly deserving Affleck is of this award.
rise and fall of a star in Tinseltown is humanely presented
on screen by the charismatic good-looker. Viewers will be
able to connect with Reeves as a real movie star who was initially
seduced by the bright lights of stardom and fame, and eventually
becoming a victim of this honey trap. The consequences, as
you know, are dire.
up the reliable cast are Oscar nominees Diane Lane, who ages
gracefully to play the woman Reeves had a torrid affair with;
and Bob Hoskins, who poignantly brings the MGM executive with
an agenda to life.
such heavily depressing characters in the movie, it is no
wonder that the 125-minute picture is not easy to sit through.
After much meandering in its first half, the Allen Coulter-directed
movie finally picks up pace somewhere after its halfway mark.
we are still awed by the director’s ability to interplay
true facts with fiction so delicately. With TV works like
“The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City”
under the first time-feature film director’s credits,
Coulter has respectably told a sad story of a fallen star.
the help of stylishly lush cinematography, an authentically
produced set design and an aptly shady jazz score featuring
trumpet solos, this movie gives us a peek into the not-so-glamorous
side of show business.
the end of the movie, Brody’s character tells us about
how we are surrounded by “shitty people”. It is
then we suddenly realize that the film isn’t too concerned
about the truth behind Reeves’ death anymore. We too,
are not worried whether there is a clear conclusion to this
movie which presents itself as a whodunit crime thriller.
struck us that, what is relevant to us today, are the two
men’s sad desperation of trying to maintain balance
in their lives. Guess what, not everyone can be strong all
the time – not even Superman.
(Featuring top-notch performances, this heavy tale paints
a gloomy picture of human nature’s darker side)
by John Li