Been awaiting IMDb critic tedg's review of The Black Dahlia, since he "gets" De Palma and it doesn't disappoint. Many commentaries (including this one) talked about the "discovery of the body" scene and the casting of Mia Kirshner but tedg explains them best. First the body:
About 22 minutes into this there is a wonderful crane shot, probably done without artificial assistance, beginning five minutes which is the heart of the overly complex story. It sets up two apparently unrelated threads in the story that interweave from this point. It is of the front of a building where later there will be a shooting, moves up and over the building to look at a vacant lot behind where we see a woman making a gruesome discovery. She runs to the street alongside the building where we see the car of our two cops coming to park in front and engage in a shooting. We move in front of the car to a bicyclist, who plays no role in the story. He brings us to a couple walking down the sidewalk approaching the front of the building where they will encounter our cops. We come down to street height and listen in on their conversation.And Kirshner:
But there's another joy here too. The story — no surprise — features a film within the film. It's the whole story, there, with elements of that internal film overlapping the main story in three or four significant ways. The star of this inner film, who also is our bisected victim is a character played by Mia Kirshner. She's so much more alive and real than anyone else in the main story, I can only assume it was deliberate and a truly thrilling risk. If you follow film, you'll know her very similar and hugely complex role in "Exotica," a landmark film.
Is the movie really good? I got the audio book a while ago when I was doing a lot of driving. It was then that began to notice that the "geek squad" cars try so hard to be from that era of post-war Los Angeles detectives in black and white squad cars.
That's a great photo. If they wanted to be super-period they'd wear fedoras like the "hat squad" that intimidated suspects and violated civil rights in the 40s (see Mulholland Falls).