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De Palma's Black Dahlia Opens Venice

The Black Dahlia, which opened the Venice Film Festival Wednesday, is a Brian De Palma fan's fantasy: dark, sexy, brooding, nasty. The L.A. noir mystery boasts several fabulous cinematic set pieces for cineastes to froth over. Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank and Scarlett Johannson are more than fine. The one who may earn mixed notices is Josh Hartnett as a relatively honest L.A. cop investigating the infamous 1947 crime. He's a tall drink of water who looks great in a fedora, but...

The reviews will be all over the map, from raves to pans. Here's THR's Kirk Honeycutt. I suspect some critics will want to reward De Palma for being interesting, true to his nature and faithful to the hardboiled James Ellroy novel. There will be a few less than favorable comparisons to LA Confidential and Chinatown: it goes with the territory. De Palma's evocation of period L.A. is flawless, even if he did have to erect some palm trees in Bulgaria.


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  • Risky Biz blog takes a deep, daily look at the film industry's ups, downs and deals from around the world and the heart of Hollywood. It is edited by media and entertainment journalist Steven Zeitchik, with contributions from The Hollywood Reporter's worldwide team of film editors and reporters. Zeitchik is a Los Angeles-based writer for THR and also has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

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