Friday, October 27, 2006

First You Get The Money, Then You Get The Power, Then You Get The Locker Poster of Tony Montana.

The Black Dahlia
2006, USA
Brian DePalma

So I like Brian De Palma. What's it to you? You think you're better than me? Listen, I've got a white gold chain with a diamond microphone on it that I got at the swap meet, and I know every line to DePalma’s Scarface. My facial hair is trimmed into razor thin lines, I like to lick my lips in public, and I have several oversized black T shirts with Simpsons characters posing like The Sopranos, and I would kick your ass if I didn’t have to get back to my job handing out club flyers on a street corner. Just kidding. I graduated high school. No, I like Brian De Palma not because he annoyed the hell out of me by accidentally making Scarface a cultural phenomenon among people whose idea of culture is the latest Tupac B sides collection. I like him because his early films were nerdy little riffs on Hitchcock, and he seems to hate women almost as much as I do.

It actually says "say hello to my little friend" on his teeth. And "I'm a fucking retard" on his chain.

But aside from ejaculating every time he spatters a brunette with blood, I haven't gleaned much enjoyment from De Palma's films of late. Femme Fatale was an interesting inflammation of the sub-textual eroticism of film noir, but Mission To Mars was a little baffling, and I'm still not sure whether Mission Impossible was supposed to be funny or sad. The Black Dahlia, however, I had high hopes for. Based upon James Ellroy's novel, the film is about the famous Black Dahlia murder case, in which aspiring actress Elizabeth Short was found chopped in two with her mouth carved open. Being both a fan of Ellroy's novels and mutilation, I was looking forward to seeing what De Palma was going to do with the story. While the movie doesn't fail completely, it doesn't live up to the material's potential as did, say, L. A. Confidential, based upon another Ellroy novel. The cast, comprised of Josh Hartnett, Hilary Swank, and Scarlet Johansson's visible ego, are far too young to sell their performances, and the story gets so convoluted De Palma has to rush a compressed explanation into the final act of the film. Also, De Palma's Hitchockian camera trickery, apparently the only way he knows how to prove he went to film school, distracts from the film's atmosphere, destroying the frail illusion of the The Black Dahlia’s temporal setting. Plus, I can't watch this movie and get high with my friends at 2 pm on a Tuesday while the civilized world is at work. There's barely anything to quote loudly while trying to sneak into the Sean Paul after party at Club Zone, and Josh Hartnett doesn't look nearly as good on a locker poster as Al Pacino.


Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

I fuckin hated this movie.

4:06 p.m.  
Blogger Sam Kahn said...

Yeah, I didn't see it, but I heard terrible things about it from friends. Disappointing.

My favorite DePalma movie is Blow Out.

6:11 p.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

I'm cautiously optimistic about the film purely because I'm a James Ellroy fan. Curtis Hanson's take on L.A.Confidential has made Ellroy's White Jazz a hard film to make (seeing how several of the prominent characters were killed off. Which makes the last part of the trilogy a bit of an impossibility without bringing in voodoo and re-animated corpses) But Josh Hartnett looks like he's just finished a game of varsity basketball and has decided to solve crime on his days off.

12:12 p.m.  
Anonymous Rin said...

I like DePalma too but this was fucking awful. Except for one shot which I quite liked but then ended too quickly.

4:02 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

I'm guessing that's the one where her mouth is carved open like a jack o'lantern?

Sam - Yeah, Blow Out's great, and it's a great riff on Blow Up, which I also love.

Jerk - I hear the movie hated you too. I heard it talking to The Departed in the next theatre.

11:36 a.m.  
Anonymous WILLY HELMET said...

ER...COULD I JUST REMIND EVERYBODY THAT DE PALMA`S BEST FILM IS "PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE", ( the way, i want to bugger scarlet johansson).

4:15 p.m.  

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