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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Mulholland Falls (1996)



Reviews and Comments

This film should have worked. It certainly looks good. Hard-boiled, chain-smoking cops in fedoras ride around in undersized convertibles roughing up the criminals of Los Angeles (and anyone else who gets in their way) with heedless abandon. The acting is superb across the board -- Nick Nolte in the lead role, with co-stars Melanie Griffith, Chazz Palminteri, Jennifer Connelly, and John Malkovich, among others. The problem isn't with the film's characters or atmosphere, it's with its basic story. I don't buy it. It's a film noir murder mystery -- Connelly's found dead in the middle of the desert. Nolte investigates, and it's clear he knows the girl. The plot twists untangle; eventually the film ends up at a military base, and that's where it all falls apart. None of this stuff would ever happen, but sometimes films with an offbeat otherworldly quality like this one has can get away with breaches in realism. But not here. Watching the credits roll at the end, I was left with an uneasy distaste when I should have felt a sense of dramatic satisfaction. I appreciated the mechanics of the film but not where it took me.