Directed By: Anthony Drazan
Written By: David Rabe (Screenplay/play)
Cinematography: Changwei Gu
Editor: Dylan Tichenor
Cast: Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Meg Ryan, Garry Shandling, Anna Paquin, Chazz Palminteri
Hollywood movers and shakers dissect their own personal lives when everything seems to clash together.
Based on a play this film feels very theatrical. Though it never comes alive or feels vivid it more feels like everyone is going through the motions.
Even as it shows the dark side of Hollywood as the characters aren’t likable at all. They never exactly redeem themselves. We just keep watching them torture themselves and others in this kind of well dressed he’ll
As the lead character of Eddie seems to be the only character who realizes that he should loath his actions and character
While the trailer makes the film Look exciting and alive. Watching it feels drab and almost colorless. Strangely it feels like while there is a great cast most of them feel miscast.
Again though originally a play. Being set in Los Angeles it feels like the movie should feel more open. The film sometimes leaves the apartment that is shared by the two main characters but not enough. As Los Angeles is a place where your home is kind of your sanctuary but it is also Hollywood and the characters are all involved in that life. Which requires being more social and going places
It’s not a total loss as the cast are all serviceable in their roles. Most seem to try so hard to be out of their usual roles and onscreen personae they are known for.
Sean Penn brings his usual immersion to the role and feels electrifying no one else feels that way except maybe Garry Shandling, that is more him playing a producer creep that feels inside of his wheelhouse.
Kevin Spacey is fine in his role but his dyed blonde hair is distracting. Meg Ryan is good in her role and quite natural but it also feels like stunt casting
None of these characters would you like or want to really spend any amount of time with. Though they complain quite a bit. These are characters who work for a theatrical price because you stay for the acting and character more than the story and are more trapped with them in play form. If only for the amount you paid to see it and made an investment and are not going to walk out as easily. When it comes to film you care about acting and characters, but an audience usually mostly is interested in where the story is going and plot and if it doesn’t move it feels stuck
Maybe if director Anthony Drazan wouldn’t direct it as he is more a theater director and he can refine the performances and lock but a different director might have tried to make it more visual and open the movie up even though admittedly as a theatrical piece the strength is in the script, performances, and dialogue. The film called for more of a director with flair visually.
So this feels like an all-star cast wasted not on a project not worth their time but one that doesn’t live up to its pedigree.