The Black Dahlia

blackdahliaMiscast and not at all curious about its characters. James Ellroy (who wrote the novel) and De Palma are simpatico. They are stylists to the bone. Ellroy got the vibe, how the Black Dahlia murder seeped into the sun-drenched morass from which it burped. The movie uses her death to shock the edges of a dull love triangle. Because De Palma removes us from the horror at hand (until the end), the humor he trucks is unwarranted (e.g., k.d. lang and a line of showgirls at a lesbian nightclub bigger than the Copacabana). Aside from Fiona Shaw, the actors aren’t up to his winking nudge. In fact, neither is he. De Palma seems tired. The only reason you should see this film is to see him adapt Ellroy’s suitably untidy book — and to see him fail.

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