Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Black Dahlia

The Black Dahlia is a mystery thriller set in the 1940's and directed by Brian De Palma. He has spent a long time in the industry and is repsonsible for three arguable classics: The Untouchables, Scarface and Carrie. You'd therefore be right in thinking he's an esteemed director although if look closely, his last great film was Carlito's Way back in 1993 and he's directed some very mediocre movies inbetween then and now, most notably Mission Impossible and Snake Eyes.

The movie is based on the novel by James Ellroy and follows two dectectives, played by Josh Harnett and Aaron Eckhart, as they investigate a murder. As Eckharts character Blanchard becomes obsessed about the case, Harnetts character Bleichert becomes involved with his partners lover, Kay, played by Scarlett Johansson.

As Blanchard estranges himself from the close relationship that the three have enjoyed and Bleichert and Kay grow closer, Bleichert himself delves deeper into the murder mystery to solve the case and resolve the tensions that have boiled over into their personal relationships.

The Black Dahlia is expertly shot with great sets of 1940's decoration displaying the inherent seediness that the film revolves around; the world of femme fatales, corrupt policemen, and the criminal underworld.

However, the plot development is excruciatingly slow and when it does take off it becomes messy and I had all but lost the plot and will to live around three-quarters of the way in until it started to piece together at the end but twist after twist made the storyline redundant and pointless and I couldn't wait until the credits rolled. With De Palma returning in 2008 with an Untouchables prequel, is he grasping at straws to redeem his career?

I would give this film 3 film noirs out of 10.



Blogger Skry said...

We watched The Grizzly Man last night. I have to say that I was pleasently surprised by the movie, as you didn't seem impressed by it bro.

I was happy that it didn't show much of the man himself, as his attitude is a bit grating, but in the end the story of his life and the amazing things he did were nothing short of brilliant!

Anyone with the balls to stand in front of a fully-grown adult bear and scare it away using nothing but their own body has to be respected in many ways, although I did feel that there was the potential for Timothy to have some sort of mental problem. Seriously, the guy had a lot of issues which, like a savant, may have meant he was brilliant with these animals but also spelt his terrible demise.

It's unfortunate that he died in this way, as he ovbiously got closer to grizzly bears than anyone else, yet it was hardly unexpected. The narrator did say that this was potentially a bad thing for both Timothy and the bears to experience, as it might lead the wild animals to think that all humans were either passive or easy prey. He was also very balanced in his narration and I found that this and the accounts of Timothy's friends and family helped to temper the Grizzly Man and make him more (excuse the pun) bearable onscreen. The cool wee foxes also helped :D

All in all I would give the film 6.5 teddybears picnic's out of 10. Yogi and his pic-a-nic basket would have been proud!

12:24 am  
Anonymous Lou said...

I found The Black Dahlia to be a chore to watch. Its one of those films that thinks its more clever than it actaully is, throwing in an endless number of twists and turns in the last 15 minutes.

The first Mission Possible is actually quite a good action film for the 90s in terms of plot and visuals. Casualties of War is another good De Palma film. But yes I agree that its been a while since he has come up with anything worth paying attention to.

2:10 am  

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