25 August 2002 | excalibur9
Rule #645: All films made in Hollywood, by Hollywood, about Hollywood, must be seedy. I should probably add for Hollywood' to the above list, as the film is more or less a home movie. Like The Player, Sunset Boulevard and countless others before it, it is a film that has been made by locals and just happened to have been given a world-wide release; seemingly by accident. It also takes great delight in detailing what a dreadful, decadency, drug and sex-fuelled level of hell it is. Personally, I can't wait to go there.
Although based on an original novel, its structure is different and only the central idea has been borrowed.' Danny Huston plays (and rather well) an agent who manages to land a big, starry client and discover that he has cancer, all in the space of a few days. It's all downhill from then on as he begins to reassess his life, realises his girlfriend is just after his business connections and that he has barely achieved anything of worth in his short life. To be honest, that really doesn't come through in the film and feels as if it could have done with a few more scenes and some sharper editing. Despite some excellent scenes, the characters seem too much like improvised teaching studies and not well-written, three-dimensional people. Only Ivan manages to leap from the screen, and that is largely because of Danny Huston's Jack Nicholson-like presence.
Another thing to note is that the film was shot with digital cameras, although the sound seems to have been recorded with a Dictaphone. The photography is good, but is soft and jittery. This is because it was shot interlaced and not in progressive scan. Given the quality of the cameras available, and its inevitable transfer to film, I'm not quite sure why. Techno-bore detail, I know, but still distracting.
A good effort, but a home movie: 6/10