The Black Dahlia

You know you cannot trust Brian De Palma, specially lately, as he does not seem to quite know what to do. He wants to make noir pictures and he wants to make these complex terrifying thrillers that make sense only to some and generally to none. In "The Black Dahlia", based on the novel by James Ellory (who's novel also led to the amazing "L.A. Confidential"), De Palma tries very hard to rebuild the magic of L.A. Confidential. Same gritty, action-packed, corruption soaked L.A where nothing is what it seems and the only thing you could be sure of is utter moral failure all around. While the film starts to work, it slowly generates into a confusing, occasionally tedious tale of police corruption and general Hollywood malaise. Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett as buddy cops are generally very good while Scarlet Johansson just continues to bewilder with her utter lack of skill. The most impressive performance in the film comes from Hillary Swank who plays uncharacteristically negative but strong and mysterious role. This is her true calling. I cannot imagine her doing anything better than this.

Full of characters and plot twists, the Black Dahlia (based somewhat on a true story) is one of those films you wish was better than it is. You almost see it being fumbled away.