Mulholland Falls (1996)

CHINATOWN it ain't.  Nick Nolte, Melanie Griffith, and Chazz 
Palminteri are some of the big names in this terrible, top-heavy 
train-wreck of a thriller from New Zealand director Lee Tamahori 
(ONCE WE WERE WARRIORS).  Nick, Chazz, Michael Madsen, and Chris 
Penn play an elite team of LAPD detectives (based on the real-life 
"Hat Squad") investigating the murder of a beautiful young woman 
(Jennifer Connelly).  The often-gruesome trail-- she was found with 
all of her bones broken, as if dropped from a great height-- leads 
into the desert, into a conspiracy involving the Atomic Energy 
Commission.  Yawn. 

The period detail is a pleasant distraction-- enough hats, suits, 
and old cars to keep one's mind off the contrived and often 
confounded plot.   MULHOLLAND FALLS also features an impressive 
array of prominent players, none of whom, though, makes much of a 
dent.  Ms. Griffith-- as Nolte's character's wife-- registers no 
better than Madsen, Penn, William Petersen, Bruce Dern, or Treat 
Williams.  Even a cameo by Rob Lowe is wasted.  

Stick with it, though, and you'll have plenty of time to ponder 
such imponderabilities as:  how does the exceptionally endowed Ms. 
Connelly keep from falling forward?  Does she wear a special brace?  
If Sean Penn in DEAD MAN WALKING is the current incarnation of 
Elvis, then is his heavier-set brother a representation of the 
King's, uh, "later years?"  And, of course, will the unfortunate 
Chazz Palminteri still have a career after the four consecutive 
(Rated "R"/107 min.)

Grade: D+

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: April 27, 1996

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