Out in Mojave’s desert, where manly stares and insistent lens flare pass for profundity, deeply bummed movie star Thomas (Garrett Hedlund) seeks to deal with two demons, vexations besides his existential distemper.
One is a bothersome body he’s fixing to dispose of and then shrug off. The other is an amusingly verbose drifter named Jack (Oscar Isaac), who won’t be so easily shucked. Jack may or may be dangerous — or even real — but he’s as relentless as cosmetic surgery, especially after Thomas returns to his so-called life in Hollywood.
Writer/director William Monahan won an Oscar for penning The Departed and he obviously needs the discipline Martin Scorsese brought to that picture. Left to his own devices, Monahan squanders talent — Mark Wahlberg, Walton Goggins and France’s Louise Bourgoin among them — by chasing literary allusions and cinema ghosts to no particular end, which is the ultimate destination of this nihilist noir.