Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5.
USA, 1998. J&T Productions, Savvy Lad, Brown’s Requiem. Screenplay by Jason Freeland, based on the novel by James Ellroy. Cinematography by Seo Mutarevic. Produced by David Scott Rubin, Tim Youd. Music by Cynthia Millar. Production Design by Marc Rizzo. Costume Design by Mimi Melgaard. Film Editing by Toby Yates.
Awkward adaptation of James Ellroy’s first novel, about a disgruntled private investigator (Michael Rooker) who has no idea what he’s in for when he takes a job from a golf cabbie who asks him to keep an eye on his sister (Selma Blair). Rooker hasn’t the charisma to be a leading man or an anti-hero, while Blair fares even worse, flimsy where her character is supposed to be naive (but too naive to be believed). The novel upon which this one is based is much more complex, featuring Ellroy’s usually fascinating foray into the underworld of dirty cops, trips to Tijuana and trademark double-crossing dames. The direction here has no flair for any of these, pumping up the sex ante to make up for the more important things that it cuts out, and doesn’t demand a whit of talent from any of its players. Best to be left alone.