Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Germany/USA, 2006. Universal Pictures, Millennium Films, Signature Pictures, Equity Pictures Medienfonds GmbH & Co. KG III, Nu Image Entertainment GmbH, Art Linson Productions, Davis Films, Linson Entertainment. Screenplay by Josh Friedman, based on the novel by James Ellroy. Cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond. Produced by Rudy Cohen, Moshe Diamant, Avi Lerner, Art Linson. Music by Mark Isham. Production Design by Dante Ferretti. Costume Design by Jenny Beavan. Film Editing by Bill Pankow. Academy Awards 2006.
Josh Hartnett plays a homicide cop on the LAPD who, along with partner Aaron Eckhart, becomes involved in solving the murder of a young actress (Mia Kirshner, who is fantastic even if her scenes feel like they’re from a different movie) when her horrifically mutilated body is discovered behind a brothel. Hartnett’s investigation of the mystery leads him to a sexually adventurous socialite (Hilary Swank, compellingly sexy as a Ava Gardner-esque femme fatale) who once knew the murder victim and has a few secrets of her own. Adapted from the novel by James Ellroy, Brian De Palma’s recreation of 1940s Hollywood is dazzling to the senses, but the screenplay lacks the focus and precision that L.A. Confidential had, both films being whittled down versions of Ellroy’s much larger original sources. Confidential‘s screenwriters Helgeland and Hanson pared down the mammoth narrative to elements that only bore directly on the central murder case; here, writer Josh Friedman includes many various threads from Ellroy’s book but doesn’t tie them all together well enough. Still, it might be enough for some to simply see the author’s world of hard-boiled detectives and double-crossing dames come to life on the silver screen.