Brian DePalma's adaptation of James Ellroy's famed crime novel perfectly displays why the complex story has taken so long to reach the screen, because so much has to be crammed into two hours. The characters suffer from too many emotional leaps as well as an ending that tells the solution of the mystery instead of showing us.
Officer Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert (Josh Hartnett, SIN CITY) is an ambitious young cop and we know this because he tells us in voice over. The L.A. police department needs a funding bill passed, so they stage a benefit boxing fight between Bucky, a former pro, and fellow officer and former pro fighter Leland "Lee" Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING). This raises the two cops up in the ranks of the department. Now as partners, they quickly become good friends. Bucky even gets close to Lee's girl Kay Lake (Scarlett Johansson, MATCH POINT). Lee is always out for the top collar, but he drops everything when the mutilated body of Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner, TV's THE L WORD) is found in a vacant lot.