Shadows and lies in the TMZ
RULES DON’T APPLY Directed by Warren Beatty. Starring Warren Beatty, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich, Annette Bening, Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Haley Bennett, Candice Bergen. 12A, gen cert, 126 min Warren Beatty is, one supposes, going more for the sub-factual cheek of Melvin and Howard than the pseudo-historical sweep of The Aviator in this peculiar project hung around the mental decline of Howard Hughes. Beatty’s decision to repeatedly layer bits of Mahler’s Fifth symphony – the same bits used in Death in Venice – over the last hour suggests inclinations towards grand tragedy. But much of the film plays as an attempt at high farce. This sort of unevenness often results when “long-cherished” film projects come to fruition.
Lily Collins plays Marla Mabrey, the latest young starlet propelled towards compromise when summoned to LA from the rose-covered inlands. Mabrey has secured a contract with Hughes that, though lucrative, seems unlikely to lead towards any time on screen. Hughes buys such stars the way he buys hotels or expensive aeroplanes.
On her first day, an equally innocent young Methodist named Frank Forbes (Aldo Ehrenreich) turns up to drive her about the city. They buzz with optimism. She fancies herself as a songwriter. He intends to become a property magnate. But Hughes’s increasing eccentricity proves a barrier to their ambitions.
Beatty turns up as the great recluse towards the end of the first act. The actor is old enough to remember Hollywood in its artificially chaste 1950s and, like Hughes, has ★★★ THE TICKET | THE IRISH TIMES | FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2017