Monday, 11.50pm, BBC1
‘Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy’ – F Scott Fitzgerald. Two stories are told in parallel in American television director Allen Coulter’s classy feature debut – a curiously involving, semi-fictionalised murder mystery playing on the so-called ‘curse of Superman’ (which makes much of tragic events that have beset people involved with adaptations of the DC Comics strip). One strand charts the downfall of a tragic ‘hero’, the other follows the sap who is increasingly infatuated with him after his too-early death – both are ambitious men living in the future, but defined by their past.
Ben Affleck (on rare form) is real-life 1950s bit-part actor George Reeves, who believes that he’s hit the big time when he lands the role of Superman on TV. Adrien Brody, meanwhile, is Louis Simo, the bargain-basement private investigator hired by Reeves’s mother to look into the star’s unexplained demise – but uncovering uncomfortable truths that hit him hard. George is eaten up and spat out by fame, but it’s life that does the same job on Louis.