WONDERLAND      -  A  Narada Film Review

  ERIC BOGOSIAN  
  as Eddie Nash     
     
   DAWN SCHILLER   
   as Kate Bosorth   
        &   
   VAL KILMER   
   as John Holmes   
     
   DYLAN MCDERMOTT   
       &
   JOSH LUCAS
WONDERLAND - 2003   -Nick Vallelonga-Director  &   Holly Wiersma -Producer
    Not having seen the previews of WONDERLAND, I had no idea what to expect when I went into the almost empty Emporium theater.  On the one hand, had I seen the previews beforehand, I probably would not have elected to see it.  On the other hand, after seeing it, I am most pleased I went.  Director James Cox claimed at the outset that this film would be the story of porn star John Holmes after his high profile movie career.  But I am not convinced he was being entirely candid on this; because just a straightforward documenting of Los Angeles' lowlife sleaze is just that; entirely without redeeming merit  We can be certain that Cox had more on his mind than just filming sleaze so that he could display it in public...
         Likewise, why would someone of Val Kilmer's virtually limitless capabilities buy into a film which starts out in a phrenetic drug-hazed shambles and continues to descend?  Kilmer obviously had nothing more to prove in this regard after The Doors. so again, what was there in WONDERLAND that motivated Kilmer to take on the job?
         In Director Cox's case, the answer was to be found not only in the acting, but in the concluding 'storyboard' remarks.  WONDERLAND, to Cox, was an opportunity to shake an outraged finger at the fallible, almost frail legal system, in which we see law enforcement knowing full well who the baddies are -the drug kingpins, the murderers- but are 'afraid' to touch them because of the all-too-real inability to convict.  Just as bad are the murderers who are able to manipulate the system by copping a plea for obstructing an investigation (or some similar lesser charge), and in a matter of months are back on the streets.
         In this sense, WONDERLAND is an 'important' enough film for Val Kilmer to take it on.  And he did so, in a grand manner.  But he didn't do it alone; the supporting cast of Lisa Kudrow as his wife, and Dylan McDermott as David Lind, and Josh Lucas as Ron Launius were equally impressive.  Add to the mix Cox's tried-and-true storytelling strategy -where we see several versions of 'the truth'- and you end up with a rivetting story  --in spite of itself.
      Enduring Line or Phrase:  "Close...Eddie Nash."

2003,    Bangkok Eyes / bangkokeyes.com
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