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Drama - Police

Mulholland Falls (1996)

Duration1h 47m
RatingsUK: 18, USA: R, Sweden: 15
Source of storyA script apparently based on a real detective squad in the 1950s known as “The Hat Squad”.
DirectorLee Tamahori
Writers/ScriptPeter Dexter
StarringNick Nolte, Melanie Griffith, Michael Madsen, treat Williams, Jennifer Connelly, John Malkovich, Kyle Chandler, Bruce Dern, Rob Lowe,
RatingsIMDb: 6.3/10 by 18k people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 31% by 32 reviewers. Review2view 6/10.

Summary: In 1950s Los Angeles Lieutenant Hoover leads a group of detectives who take the law into their own hands, and we see them take a Chicago mob boss out of a restaurant and throw him off a cliff at the top of Mulholland Drive – hence the title. The squad are called to a site where there is the body of a woman face down, who it turns out is a prostitute Allison Pond, whose bones are all broken. The trail leads them to the site of an atomic bomb test, and the boss of the Atomic Energy Authority, General Timms. The team get hold of a film of Timms having sex with Pond, taken through a two way mirror, but on interrogation he has an alibi. It becomes apparent that Col Fitzgerald, who works for Timms is hiding injuries to solders who had been involved in the A-test. It may be this which causes the FBI to attempt to shut down the enquiry, and when Hoover refused, for them to send a tape of him having sex with Pond to his wife.

Content: There is sex and some nudity, mostly shown on grainy films as if through the two way mirror. The team drink a bit and smoke almost constantly. They drive about quite a lot in their 1950s convertible, usually engaging in smart dialogue. They interview people involved with Allison Pond and guard her friend Jimmy Fields, who is murdered. They drive out into the desert and go to the site of the bomb. Hoover discovers the soldiers hidden from view who are close to death. There is violence and threatening behaviour by many people.

A View: This film was not liked much and did not get anywhere near covering its production costs.  Melanie Griffith as Mrs Hoover, won the Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress. I kept watching it, expecting to be entertained at some point, but it never quite made it. Even the body which had all its bones broken, as if she had fallen off a cliff. How could that have happened? They seemed surprised when they found out. So this is a film which you might have on for nothing, while doing something else.

Nick Nolte usually plays the same sort of character in his movies. If you like the character check him out in U-Turn, The Thin Red Line and 48 Hours.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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