Thursday, December 28, 2006

Into the darkness

I was reasonably disappointed by The Descent. I'm not sure I have a lot to say about it. I was just a big fan of Neil Marshall's Dog Soldiers. One of the things I admired about the earlier film was how well the characters were delineated. This movie did many things very well, but once the characters end up in the cave, only the two leads are distinguishable in the dark. That said, the leads were indeed compelling and the scares are genuine. I'm sure I'd be leaping to recommend it if I hadn't wanted something more.

The same goes for The Black Dahlia. I'm not a huge fan of Brian DePalma, but I've enjoyed his work over the years. Most of the negative criticisms seem to come from concerns that I'm unable to share in basic principle. I also enjoyed James Ellroy's novel, The Black Dahlia, although, I admit, it was years ago. I don't know what to say about the movie. It certainly never feels as big as the story it's telling is. Josh Hartnett isn't actually a bad actor at all, but he lacks the charisma to pull of the lead in this. Hilary Swank does a solid job, but every other actress in the movie looks more like Mia Kirshner. Ultimately, the screen only comes alive when Aaron Eckhart and Scarlett Johansson are on it, and that's not nearly often enough. I also think the a movie shot by the cinematographer of The Long Goodbye and The Deer Hunter should look better than this. I guess I've answered my question. It's not really bad, as many reviews have suggested, but its certainly not good either.

If you're looking for a look into the darkness, definitely choose The Descent, which does more right than wrong, but certainly there are better looks than either of these out there and you might think about looking for one of those.

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