Wonderland

The strangely familiar downfall of John Holmes

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OPENS MAY 7, CERT 18, 104 MINS

This is the true story of a multiple slaying at 8763 Wonderland Avenue, LA in 1981. Porn star John Holmes (Val Kilmer) was a coke buddy of the victims and?according to this script?had recently abetted them in an armed raid on dealer Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian). Nash beat a confession out of Holmes, leading to their murders. If this sounds familiar?porn star, coke, guns, disaster?it’s because Boogie Nights also featured a sequence based on these facts. Remember when Mark Wahlberg, Thomas Jane and John Reilly try to rip off a crack-smoking Alfred Molina? That was the Wonderland story, told with more drama and style than director James Cox manages here.

The cast and story are first-rate. The problem is the structure?a series of subjective flashbacks?which allows no time to develop Kilmer’s character. He just seems like a whining, feckless cokehead. And we’ve got enough of those without mythologising one who died in 1988?no matter how well-hung he was.

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