THE PLOT THUS FAR
In the police investigation of a brutal crime scene, one man was at the center of it all: legendary porn star John Holmes.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
John Holmes was the world’s biggest porn star in all senses of the world, however after the fame came a basic life of drugs and crime to get by. One such job was a robbery and murders at Laurel Canyon in 1981. With the police investigating the violent aftermath of the robbery, they take in David Lind who tells them a story of how Holmes set up the whole job and how the planned robbery of ‘The Arab’ turned out to be a robbery of kingpin Eddie Nash, leading to Nash’s revenge killing of the gang except Lind. However, bringing Holmes in for questioning they get told an entirely different story.
James Cox’s ‘Wonderland’ is about the gruesome Wonderland murders that took place in the early 1980s. The murder case itself was never solved and remained a mystery. Sadly, the movie does not do much to to cast light on it but there are hints indicated what most likely has happened. It is more of an interesting account rather than an actual story where one event is told from the perspective of different characters: Ex-porn king turned junkie John Holmes (Val Kilmer), his girlfriend Dawn Shiller (Kate Bosworth), his estranged wife Sharon (Lisa Kudrow) and David Lind (Dylan McDermott).
‘Wonderland’ is quite well shot, with the chaotic camera-work and slick editing, use of music and visuals and effective sound. It is very graphic and includes real photographs from the crime scene. It does manage to create the feel of the early 80s that ended the craziness of the 70s. Val Kilmer seems to be an odd choice to play John Holmes. There is no physical resemblance. As a stand alone he acts well but does not have any nuances of Holmes. His portrayal of Holmes is inaccurate to say the least. Kate Bosworth is quite alright. I didn’t find the love story between the two that engaging. Dylan McDermott does not seem to be completely in character. In spite of having a small role, Lisa Kudrow delivers the best performance. It was very nuanced and natural. Josh Lucas does alright but at times he seems a little too loud. There are several more familiar faces.
The Blu-Ray comes with deleted scenes and some of the real crime scene footage. You get a director’s commentary and a Court TV special about the murders. However, it’s missing a rather lengthy doc that was on the two-disc DVD release from the movie’s first home video release. The A/V Quality sports a strong 1080p transfer with minor artifacting. But, the DTS-HD 5.1 master audio holds up when compared to similar crime drama. If you’re a fan of true crime, you’ll want to make a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 10/05/2010