ivans xtc (Cert 18)

by MATTHEW BOND, Mail on Sunday

Hooray, goes the old song, for Hollywood. Anyone who's tried to make it there knows different. Thus films about Hollywood tend to be bitter satires: think Sunset Boulevard, Swimming With Sharks, The Player. A welcome addition to these poisonous love letters is ivans xtc, a low-budget tale charting an agent's downfall.

Danny Huston (son of director John) plays Ivan Beckman who, like William Holden in Sunset Boulevard, is dead at the start of the film. We then trace his steps to his unglamorous end.

Huston is excellent, lithely conveying the agonies and ecstasies of life in the fast lane. Through him, we see a world that doesn't communicate: phone calls are passed on, nobody speaks to anyone, no one listens. Which is why, when the news of Ivan's death finally arrives, everyone assumes its from a drug overdose, even though it isn't. Truth is the most elusive commodity in Hollywood.

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