Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Black Dahlia (*)

Call me lazy if you wish, but I think my wife Jules nailed the review for this one. I agree with her completely and have nothing new to add so I'm just going to copy her review in full for your reading pleasure:

What. A. Mess.

First of all, I don't know if it's the story that sucks or just the way they told the story. What is it with this new trend of telling stories about so-called Hollywood mysteries, like the Black Dahlia and George Reeves? If you want to cinematize a real mystery or scandal, give the story of "My Sister Sam" actress Rebecca Schaeffer or something. This movie tries to do too much with too little. The film wanders around aimlessly for the first half hour or forty-five minutes. Is it a boxing movie? A buddy cop film? The story about a love triangle? Who knows and who cares.

Then they start getting into the actual "meat" of the story, the murder of a young wannabe actress, who is dubbed "The Black Dahlia" for some reason no one cares about. Then, for another inexplicable reason, partners Hartnett and Eckhart become obsessed with this girl and her murder. Why? I have no idea. They don't bother to flesh this out because they're too busy spending time on other mysteries, like why some initials are carved on Scarlett Johansson's back side and why Hilary Swank won two Oscars.

The whole movie is just awful, and a big fat finger can be pointed at the director, Brian De Palma. The acting is attrocious. The usually excellent Aaron Eckhart seems about as confused as to what his character is doing in the movie as we are as to why we're watching it. Scarlett Johansson was completely miscast. She is way too young to be playing that role. If we're being picky, so is Josh Hartnett, but he actually did a better-than-expected job with the tripe he was given. Aunt Petunia from the "Harry Potter" movies...I have no idea what to say about her performance, except that it was laughable and I don't know if it was supposed to be. Hilary Swank should have both of her Oscars revoked. She can play white trash like nobody's business, but playing upper-class Scottish or American or Irish or English or whatever accent she was slipping in and out of throughout this movie is not her forte.

Tonally, this movie is all over the place. The audience laughed several times during the course of the film, and I don't think that was the intent of the director. The big reveal at the end was more like the "Wayne's World" Scooby-Doo ending than the end of a noir film. The score was distracting and at times completely inappropriate.

Perhaps the best part (and by best, I mean worst) of the movie was when some "secret" person murders Aaron Eckhart. Some shadowy person in a hat comes up from behind and stabs him sending him sailing off a railing to his doom. Who could this shadowy figure possibly be? Doy, Brian De Palma. It's obviously a woman and it's obviously...I won't tell you who it was. If you're feeling particularly masochistic this weekend and decide to see this film, you can figure it out for yourself.


At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best review I'VE ever read.


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