Director: Warren Beatty
Starring: Warren Beatty, Alden Ehrenreich, Lily Collins, Matthew Broderick, Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Candice Bergen, Haley Bennett, Paul Sorvino, Ed Harris, Oliver Platt, Steve Coogan.
I could never understanding the hype around Warren Beatty. Maybe it's a generation thing that I missed out on. I suppose the two things I remember him for is Dick Tracey and Bulworth, films both directed and starring himself. I can't say I've seen Reds, the film that won him best director Oscar in 1981. I'm not saying he's rubbish by no means. This is the first of his films, as director, that hasn't been nominated for an Oscar.
I guess what is also a factor, is his recent silence from the big screen from both behind and in front of the camera. He hasn't starred in a film since Town & Country in 2001, and the last film he directed was Bulworth, which was 18 years ago. So, is this his big return? I have no idea about the American reception but I don't feel there was much promotion behind the film here in the UK.
The story, also written and screenplayed by Beatty, covers eight years of three people's lives, living and working in Hollywood from 1958. There's the aspiring actress, her chauffeur and the elusive film tycoon, Howard Hughes who controlled a fairly large stake in Hollywood, owning RKO studios during this time. But it doesn't wholly feel that's it about Hughes. Not in the beginning at most.
When I saw Love, Rosie, I instantly adored Lily Collins who is just as adorable in this. She plays the part of the innocent yet determined, ambitious and equally demanding Maria Mabrey, a new actress employed by Hughes. Though she sees little action and little of Hughes himself, and she's treated more of a house guest instead of the intended star she was promised. I'm hoping this arrangement actually reflects in real life, boosting Collin's career now having worked with the famous Beatty. No disrespect to Collins, she's great and she deserves bigger parts. And yes, before anyone wonders, if you didn't know already, she's Phil Collins' daughter.
There's something about Alden Ehrenreich that tells me he's going to be a massive star. His performance in last year's Hail, Caesar! was very enjoyable to watch and I'm really looking forward to seeing what he can bring in portraying the young Han Solo. He just has a certain demeanour, a confidence about him, he's like one of those true classic actors from the 50's that's been kept on ice until now.
The film feels confused, you don't really know who's story it's telling until the very end, possibly because it is actually about Howard Hughes in his later years, being true to source, his elusive behaviour results in the story paying Collins and Ehrenreich a lot of attention for the first half of the film. It's almost like the film is in two parts, the relationship between Collins and Ehrenreich, who then make way for Hughes for the rest of the film.
There's some nice, clever touches like Hughes' obsession with Debussy's Clair de Lune, his strange eating habits and erratic behaviour. Though it doesn't really paint the tycoon in a good light, however it's probably true likeness to the man.
Unfortunately, it's not some of Beatty's best work, Bulworth being my personal favourite, and this film has an acquired taste. Beatty fans will undoubtably love it but those not familiar with his work might miss the whole point of the story, and unlike myself, not find funny and quite underwhelming.
Running Time: 6
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 4
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Nah.