When I first read the original by James Ellroy, I did not get one word. The whole story just swooshed by me like a train and I was left confused. This was the book that everybody admired and praised? This confusion? The second time around however, I managed to catch a glimpse of the magic that is Dahlia.
Movies are books in motion and sound. Good movies that is. And The Black Dahlia, a movie by Brian de Palma is a good movie.
It all starts with the setting, the sound and sight of Dahlia. Camera-work and music, two aspects of a movie I began to cherish and notice not long ago are close to perfect in this tale of crime.
The story actually revolves around two police officers, “supercops“, mr. fire and mr. ice which are trying to survive under the Dahlia curse. A dead whore turns out to be more than just a 2 cent killing which makes the guys even more nervous. Add some bored members of the upper class, a love triangle and political pressure and you got yourself the Black Dahlia.
The movie does not focus on the Dahlia murder exclusively, but is showing the entire picture, interwoven with many substories which tell us more about the main players or are there just for the entertainment.
The cast is great, the best of them being mr. Fire (Aaron Eckhart) and Ramona Linscott (Fiona Shaw). And not even poor performance by Hillay Swank does not change the fact that The Black Dahlia is an excellent trip into the mind and soul of a murder left unsolved.