Almost let Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia slip out of the threatres, noting the so-so reviews, and then remembered, with a forehead slap, he always get bad reviews--until 5, 10, 20 years later, then everyone loves his work.

It's awesome. Yeah, yeah, Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson are wooden, so what? You don't go to this man's films for the acting--it's adequate. With De Palma it's the architecture, the slithery camera unhinged from narrative (or so we think until it reveals something important), the overwhelming sense of place, the visual clues and puns, the high camp melodrama, the intricately worked out geometry of every scene. The shot of the creepy slum houses under the "Hollywoodland" sign alone brings James Ellroy to life, but the "discovery of the body" scene takes his tawdry view of tinseltown to a whole other macabre level. The movie is shot on digital video but it feels big screen ambitious.

Go, go tomorrow. Be sure to look for Mia Kirshner as the Dahlia--she played "the babysitter" in Atom Egoyan's Exotica and seems forever on the verge of a major career. May she be another Jennifer Connelly blessed with a "late break." She's really good.

- tom moody 10-19-2006 4:43 am

If your looking for Mia Kirshner, you can see plenty of her in the Showtime series The L Word, which is a pretty entertaining and humorous soap opera.
- adrien (guest) 10-20-2006 2:19 am

I corrected the spelling of her name, thanks. Unfortunately I don't have Showtime but I'll try to catch it elsewhere. According to IMDb she was "ranked #38 in Stuff magazine's '102 Sexiest Women in the World' (2002)." Plus appearing in movies by such lesser known directors as Costa-Gavras, Egoyan, and De Palma.
- tom moody 10-20-2006 2:44 am

funny, right after I posted I thought, I looked up at your post and thought "Oh no, I misspelled her name!". But my unconscious mind was correct. Maybe you thought she was related to director Irvin Kershner. Anyway, who has showtime? Netflix or the local video store (Kim's for you?)
- adrien (guest) 10-20-2006 7:15 pm

Right, Kim's AKA "clerks with 'tude." I also misspelled Johansson. (with an "e" instead of an "o.")
- tom moody 10-24-2006 4:32 am