Top critical review
Has many of the common features of film noir but the writing just flops
Reviewed in the United States on July 13, 2020
Mulholland Falls was a neo-noir set in 1950s Los Angeles. The movie begins with a secret filming of a couple Allison Pond (Jennifer Connelly) and General Timms (John Malkovich) who was the head of the Atomic Energy Commission. Later Allison is found dead, pulverized to the point that all her bones were broken. A hardnosed Los Angeles detective team led by Max Hoover (Nick Nolte) and including Ellery Coolidge (Chazz Palminteri), Eddie Hall (Michael Madsen) and Arthur Relyea (Chris Penn) are tasked with investigating the murder which leads them to corruption in the government.
What the film does well is capture the tough guy heroes in Hoover and his team. They also represent the classic noir trope of the common man up against forces much more powerful then themselves.
What’s off about Mulholland Falls is that the story just isn’t that interesting. The audience is supposed to care about who killed Allison and all the intrigue surrounding her death but the writers just didn’t make it a good whodunnit. Without that there’s no motivation to stick with the film.