I originally published this capsule review on Letterboxd. I have adapted it here with minor modifications.
The documentary qualities of this film are intensely pleasurable. It is remarkable how little Sunset Blvd. and its environs have changed in almost any meaningful way since 1968. The driving shots alone cement this movie in the canon of film, literature, and music about driving in Los Angeles (Sunset Blvd., “The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena)”, The Long Goodbye, Zabriskie Point, Targets, Play It As It Lays, etc.).
What I did not find pleasurable were Gary Lockwood and Alexandra Hay’s stiff acting, the harshly overkeyed interior shots (it often looks like an episode of Dragnet 1967), and a plot that seemed tacked on to a movie that succeeds when it revels in the listlessness and silence of its main character and depicts the odd charms of driving in a city as borderline ugly as Los Angeles.
It’s not pure poetry.