Update on Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," set in contemporary Hollywood.Update on Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," set in contemporary Hollywood.Update on Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," set in contemporary Hollywood.
Drugs and power in Hollywood
The box copy for this movie suggests some kind of mystery, but don't be mislead. This is a morality drama about Hollywood deal-making at its most soulless and cynical. Peter Weller gives an unflinching performance as a high-powered star who steamrolls people, talking over them, repeating himself just in case the message didn't penetrate the first several times, making no effort to listen, and occasionally trying to justify his actions but never apologizing for his arrogance or boorishness. Danny Huston plays his agent with a painted on smile, trying to make everybody happy to get The Deal to come together, and greasing the wheels with cocaine and vodka. Huston is dying, but he puts on a happy front for the sake of the picture and knowing that the heartless, selfish people around him wouldn't care anyway. His death leads to professional complications for his agency, but little actual mourning. Indeed, it is a moment of supreme irony when his sister takes the large turnout at his funeral to be a sign of how well loved he was, while egos clash in the back of the church! The film is shot in a very documentary fashion: tight camera placements, roving camera, swish pans from one character to another. It plays like an episode of COPS, but with Hollywood power brokers at its center rather than deputies, and the look and the details of life at a big shot talent agency makes the movie seem convincing on a superficial level, but not particularly compelling dramatically. There are few original characters or situations here. The movie is good enough for its type but there is little here that seems fresh or even all that interesting.
- Apr 13, 2012
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