Reviewed on 2009 April 1
The story of fallen porn star John Holmes, and his involvement in the infamous Wonderland Murder Case.
Holmes (Val Kilmer) finds himself with a fading career, a weakness for drugs, and a group of thugs who want him to help them rob the home of a rich gangster, Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian). For the next 104 minutes we hear the story of what happened that fateful night, as told by Holmes himself and a felon named David Lind (Dylan McDermott). In between the two tellings of the event we see the life led by the thugs and Holmes the wannabe, interspersed with some great rock music and Ted Levine playing a stubborn investigator (ironic if you’ve seen Silence of the Lambs).
The movie is like the fabled trainwreck where you want to look away, and just can’t. Considering the lurid subject matter, this film is remarkably unsleazy. Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of f-bombs and more blow flying around than in the remake of Scarface, but it could have been a lot trashier. Kilmer was great as Holmes, and Lisa Kudrow’s work as his estranged wife is some of her best. The scene where he comes to her at the end is wonderfully creepy. Know who really shocked me though? Tim Blake Nelson, putting aside his harmless goof from O Brother, Where Art Thou? and playing a really psychotic Billy Deverell here. The classic soundtrack is just another bonus.
Three chocolate morsels.