The Black Dahlia (2006, Brian De Palma)

Was this a great movie, or just pretty good? Were Scarlett Johansson and Hilary Swank good in this or not? Was the movie full of style or very straightforwardly told? My answers keep changing, so I guess I’d better see it again sometime.

Josh “Bucky” Hartnett and Aaron “Lee” Eckhart are boxers (“Ice” and “Fire” respectively) turned detective-partners. Lee becomes obsessed with the Black Dahlia murder after the body is found while he’s on a stakeout shooting someone involved with the money he stole from somewhere else I forget, and abandons his wife who I think is a former prostitute who has a crush on Bucky and was disfigured by a guy who’s about to get out of jail and when he does Lee wants to kill him but ends up killed himself by shadowy rich Hilary Swank I forget why exactly while Bucky watches helpless like he so often does. At the end Bucky ends up with Scarlett of course, but still haunted by this Black Dahlia who actually doesn’t play a big part in this (and doesn’t look one bit like her lookalike Swank). There’s more to it I’m sure. Oh, and it’s all told through Bucky’s eyes so performances are actually colored by his memory of them – a cool touch.

Was fun to watch anyway, never dull, and was neat to look around the opening-night theater as the lights came up at the big WTF expression on everyone’s faces.

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