Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Black Dahlia

Critics and public alike seemed to take great pleasure in hating this Brian De Palma film based on the James Ellroy novel. I happened to quite enjoy it though I will admit it's hard to figure where the hell De Palma was trying to go with it. Is it a drama, a murder mystery, a hard boiled crime story, a romance or a bleedin' comedy. Well, it could damn well be all of them which may be the reason so many people hated it. I honestly couldn't tell if Scarlett Johansson was acting down or simply couldn't but she sure did mighty perty in that white cashmere sweater. Hilary Swank delivers what may be her sexiest performance to date and home girl Mia Kirshner was a great choice to play Elizabeth Short but it really falls on the shoulders of Josh Hartnett to carry this picture and job he more than adequately does. Aaron Eckhart does his best as well but somehow the character is not believable and this is the ultimate problem with THE BLACK come with the expectation of a true murder flick and you get something like a Mickey Spillane story directed by David Lynch. De Palma once again rips of Hitchcock all over the place, at times even ripping HIMSELF ripping Hitchcock off and while it may bug the shit out of some I personally loved every second of it.....and the whole "dinner" sequence is about as bizarre as anything to be found on film. Thought I wouldn't put it alongside THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE I will say this scene alone is worth the price of rental and in five minutes the ensemble of John Kavanagh, Fiona Shaw and Rachel Miner hijack the whole project. Good ol' Mike Starr has some great moments in this one and it's a pleasure to see him playing a good guy for a change. To sum it all up, THE BLACK DAHLIA will be a love it or hate it proposition but I strongly doubt it will leave you inbetween.


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