In the brutal war against murder and corruption, there's one place where the battles are won. Nick Nolte, Melanie Griffith, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Treat Williams, Jennifer Connelly, Andrew McCarthy a... more »nd John Malkovich star in Mulholland Falls, a brilliant, high-powered crime thriller electrified by hard-hitting action, forbidden passion and shocking intrigue. In 1950s Los Angeles, Max Hoover (Nolte) leads an elite squad of four detectives who play by their own rules, dealing with criminals the only way they know howwith deadly force. But when they investigate the murder of a beautiful young woman (Connelly), the detectives find themselves embroiled in a high-level conspiracy and faced with a terrifying secret that the US government is determined to keep hiddenat any price.« less
A period detective film for fans of period detective films
Shawn | Atlanta, Georgia | 05/23/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I must first confess my undying admiration of the gorgeous Jennifer Connelly. Now, with my bias out of the way, married plainclothes detective Nick Nolte and doomed party girl Connelly have a torrid affair such that it hurts both to break it off. Hard-guy Nolte and his 3 partners are members of the thuggish but sharply-dressed "Hat Squad," who take it upon themselves to rid the city of organized crime figures transplanted from Back East. With the gracious assistance of the "Hat Squad," these organized crime figures have a way of rolling down the side of the canyon off Mulholland Drive, which is their "hint" that they have overstayed their welcome in L.A., and that it is time to leave town. Hence the title. This was obviously before the days of Internal Affairs divisions and Citizen Review boards. In what looks to be a routine murder investigation, Nolte and his posse are surprised to discover Connelly's body. Probing deeper, Nolte and his partners determine that Connelly may have been killed for what or whom she knew. Nolte takes it personally. He and his men place themselves in harm's way with the FBI and other well-armed federal agencies. The plainclothes L.A. cops do battle the Feds and, of course, get way in over their heads. Ultimately, no one wins. When you dig deeply enough, no one ever wins. The upside: this film stars a great ensemble cast--Nolte; Melanie Griffith, his wife; Chazz Palmintieri, Chris Penn, and Michael Madsen, his partners; Connelly; Andrew McCarthy, an effeminate witness; Daniel Baldwin, a smug FBI agent; John Malkovich and Treat Williams. The film looks super, and it recreates 50's L.A. in clear detail, and the dialogue is convincing. Philosophy and psychology are also briefly discussed, which earns it a half-star with me. The downside: although most scripts made into movies are implausible, the film has difficulty making a believable transition from everyday murder investigation to the scale of atrocity uncovered by the "Hat Squad." This lack of a smooth transition detracts from the credibility of the plotline and the cohesiveness of the film. The director was obviously influenced by "Chinatown," which is superior viewing, as is "L.A. Confidential," which was released soon afterwards. "Mullholland Falls" is a "Chinatown-lite," although set 15 years or so later. If you can avoid overly critical comparisons with the best films of this type, you should enjoy it, too."
Don't mess with Hoover and I dont mean J. edgar
Ian Muldoon | Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia | 04/11/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let's face it. The director was probably overwhelmed by the talent and let control slip. The movie doesn't quite work until about three quarters way through and enjoyment of it will rest a great deal on whether you like the actors. Me? Most of them could read a relephone book and I would be fascinated. Nick Nolte is just brilliant in this and can pack a whallop with a blackjack not seen since the thirties. Not a great movie but a hell of a lot better than most that go under that name. The big car cruising with the hats aboard, terrific music on the soundtrack, an anti hero who does not take banana from anyone, and great costumes also add to the pleasure of this noir."
Modern Film Noir... a classic!
classicmoviefan | Rancho Mirage, CA | 03/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is NOT on the level of Chinatown, LA Confidential or some of the genuine film noir made in the late 40s.... however... if you enjoyed them, you will enjoy this one, and I give it 5 stars for the atmosphere, music, style, costumes, and story so typical of those other great films. ESPECIALLY interesting is Jennifer's portrayal of a "Black Dahlia" type character, pale blue eyes and all.... and Treat Williams role as a military thug, which he plays beautifully. The score by Dave Grusin is absolutely gorgeous and brings the perfectly beautiful shots of period Los Angeles and matching sets to life. Cinematography and sound is first rate. I can hardly wait to own this on DVD."
Cubist | United States | 11/16/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"They say timing is everything and this certainly applies to the release and reception of movies. Case in point: Mulholland Falls. Released a year before the very similar L.A. Confidential, Falls was also a retro-noir set in 1950s Los Angeles that featured a murder mystery leading to a vast conspiracy. However, Falls was promptly blasted by the critics and quickly disappeared from theatres while Confidential became the toast of critics and award shows all over the world. So, what went wrong? Falls featured a cast of solid character actors (it had more name actors than Confidential) and a critically acclaimed director with Once Were Warriors' Lee Tamahori as opposed to Confidential's Curtis Hanson who had only done adequate B-movies like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and The River Wild. Now that a few years have passed, Mulholland Falls has aged surprisingly well.
One of the first things that is so striking about this film is the gorgeous attention to detail with vintage cars, suits and music from the period. The casting of actresses Melanie Griffith and Jennifer Connelly is right on the money as they both have the voluptuous body type common to that era. Sadly, they aren't given too much screen time but this does give Connelly's character something of an ethereal, mysterious quality that is quite haunting and works well in the movie.
With his gravelly voice and weathered good looks, Nick Nolte is well cast as the conflicted tough guy, Max Hoover. If there is one significant problem with the film it is the lack of screen time given to the excellent actors in his crew. They are given little time to develop their characters with only Chazz Palminteri edging out the others. There is little chemistry between them and as a result it isn't believable that they are a tight-knit crew. That being said, the chemistry between Nolte and Palminteri begins to kick in towards the end of the movie but it is too little, too late.
There is somber tone that hangs over Mulholland Falls and the ending is refreshingly downbeat (unlike the very classic Hollywood ending of L.A. Confidential). Like any good noir protagonist, Max's shattered life stays shattered. The murder has been solved but at a terrible cost to his own life. While Falls is a flawed film and certainly not as strong as Confidential, it is not an awful film by any means and actually has a lot of merits. It is definitely worth another visit and this new DVD offers the perfect opportunity."
Dave Grusin writes a mean score
Ektoman | London, UK | 03/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I had to comment after reading review after review of whole-movie reviews for this product - which is the SOUNDTRACK for the film.
Dave Grusin is as accomplished a writer as he is a player - Mulholland Falls particularly shows off a lush period score that fits the movie perfectly (whatever you think of it). I only liked the central actress in the film (Jennifer Connelly - she's stunning) but was thouroughly impressed the the ultra atmospheric score, with rich jazz harmony and dark, dynamic swells - it really fits into the detective film-noir genre.
I don't usually pay attention to film scores that much but I heard this one and wanted to transcribe it. Now I know it's Grusin I'll get around to it sooner."