After James Ellroy's raves about the film version of his novel The Black Dahlia, the writer's fans allowed themselves a bit of optimism about the Brian De Palma-directed adaptation. Now, though, six lucky viewers who attended an early screening in Sherman Oaks this week have shared their impressions of the film with AICN, and they range from total disgust ("Josh Hartnett shouldn't be paid to carry luggage, let alone a movie.") to breathless praise ("it was one of those moments where I felt pure love & respect for this director.").

I've been looking forward to this movie forever and am still clinging to my hope, despite the few incredibly harsh write-ups. One of the reviewers who liked the film mentioned that, based on a focus group he attended after the screening, many of his fellow audience members just "didn't get it." While that's certainly not encouraging, his subsequent suggestion that the film (in this early stage) was "missed" because of its uncompromising complexity and reliance on noir conventions certainly is. After all, those are the best things about the screen version of L.A. Confidential, and De Palma could certainly do worse than walking in that film's footsteps.