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MULHOLLAND FALLS (1998)

Director: Lee Tamahori

Written by: Peter Dexter and Floyd Mutrux

Starring: Nick Nolte, Melanie Griffith, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Madsen, Treat Williams, Jennifer Connelly, Andrew McCarthy, John Malkovich and others...

Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller

Available on DVD
107 minutes
Rating: R for violence, sexuality, and language.

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Not to be confused with the David Lynch Mulholland Drive, Mulholland Falls is the one about the special crime squad of the LAPD in 1940's Los Angeles. The one with Nick Nolte. And Melanie Griffith. A very blonde Melanie Griffith.

The "falls" referred to in the title is a steep hillside dropping away from Mulholland Drive. The boys think it's a clever name for the area they use to dump unwanted gangsters -- off Mulholland Falls -- get it?

Cops versus corruption. It's the same old story. And it's pretty much been told before and better. (Chinatown with Jack Nicholson comes most readily to mind.) But it's not all bad. I enjoyed the performance by Nick Nolte. I love that gravel-voiced, big brute. I prefer John Huston's corrupt character in Chinatown to John Malkovich's character in Mulholland Falls. As for Melanie Griffith, I'm not a big fan. Every time I saw her on screen, I kept thinking, "she's very blonde..." but I'm certain many viewers find her performance satisfactory.

It's not the kind of movie that you will want to watch repeatedly, but one viewing or two, isn't too hard to take. It's like watching some of the old cop TV shows that were filmed in black and white. Come to think of it, I think I would have liked this movie even more if it had been filmed in black and white. I think it might have given the scenes a depth they are lacking in color. Yes, black and white film would have added a grittiness that is washed away or dissipated in color film. Black and white film would also have taken away some of the cartoonishness of the film. Why didn't the director think of that?!? Well, he made the movie the way he wanted to and we'll just have to watch it as it is...

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