Rules Don’t Apply. Film Review. Picturehouse@F.A.C.T., Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Matthew Broderick, Martin Sheen, Hart Bochner, Candice Bergen, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Lily Collins, Steve Coogan, Alec Baldwin, Oliver Platt, Ed Harris, Paul Sorvino, Taissa Farmiga.

The story you don’t know is the one that is often the most factual, cinema has a way of unfolding the tale and only offering the sanitised version of someone’s life, the mistakes, they are erasable, the darkness, the redemption found, the eventual downfall, covered in a semblance of sepia toned grace; for in cinema the Rules Don’t Apply, most of the time they are made up on the spot and changed randomly.

Although Rules Don’t Apply is primarily the cornerstone of Howard Hughes’ decline and eventual fall in health, the madness that drives a person to be the finest, the most brilliant of their generation can also lead to addictions of other kinds and the chronic pain Howard Hughes was in by this late stage of his life was such that any type of delirium would be magnified. Unlike The Aviator, which sees Leonardo DiCaprio sensationally capture the man in his prime, Warren Beatty shows the physical damage that his life had taken on him with a sense of sensitivity, even amongst the comedy factor that surrounded him in this film, Mr. Beatty arguably finds the right balance to deliver his finest performance in many years.

It is in the hopelessness of the decline, the cutting of one’s life away from the rest of humanity which is the most serious and Mr. Beatty frames that perspective against the more youthful Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich with the precision of a surgeon.

Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich play off against each other with spirit, the two young lovers kept apart by the rules of a man out of touch with reality is a keenly developed idea and one that sees Ms. Collins take another step out of the shadow that dominates her life and shows that Mr. Ehrenreich’s performance in the film Hail, Caesar! was not a fluke or a one off, this is an actor who can dominate a screen in much the same way as his co-star Warren Beatty can and it is heartening to know that he provides the same sense of cinematic allure as the great actor himself.

Rules Don’t Apply is a superbly told tale, one that of course is taken with the pinch of salt that comes readily supplied but then, as is so often mooted and phrased in life, why let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Ian D. Hall