The Black Dahlia

2006

Action / Crime / Drama / History / Mystery / Thriller

56
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 32%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 27%
IMDb Rating 5.6 10 65647

Synopsis


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August 16, 2011 at 11:24 PM

Director

Cast

Scarlett Johansson as Kay Lake
Rose McGowan as Sheryl Saddon
Josh Hartnett as Dwight 'Bucky' Bleichert
Hilary Swank as Madeleine Linscott
720p
644.46 MB
1280*720
English
R
23.976 fps
2hr 1 min
P/S 3 / 35

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dglink 7 / 10

De Palma Falters with So-So Take on Film Noir

Dante Ferretti's set design beautifully evokes the 1940's; Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography enhances the period look; and the voice-over narration has been pulled from film-noir classics. While Brian De Palma's "The Black Dahlia" has much of the look and feel of Curtis Hanson's 1997 "L.A. Confidential," that far superior film boasted better performances and a well-written screenplay. Although both films were based on James Ellroy novels and both had complicated, involved plots, the Hanson film came together with satisfying logic. Unfortunately, De Palma's movie is equally if not more complex and leaves a few threads dangling or at least badly frayed.

Although loosely based on a famous Hollywood murder, "The Black Dahlia" spends more time than necessary in establishing the three-way partnership, if not ménage, between Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, and Aaron Eckhart. The leisurely pace allows viewers to ponder the last time that they saw a film with so many double letters in the stars' names. The trailer, which has played in theaters for weeks, was misleading, and the actual murder and resulting investigation do not begin until well into the film after we have witnessed boxing scenes between the police investigators, Hartnett and Eckhart, and some three-way flirtations that do little to advance the proceedings.

The film only becomes interesting when the campy upper crust Linscott family enters. Hilary Swank as Madeleine Linscott is a deadly femme in black and as fatale as they come. Fiona Shaw as her mother shamelessly steals scenes and chews the banisters in her few minutes on screen, and John Kavanagh as Emmet Linscott adds to the family's quirky personality. An entire film could have been constructed around the Linscotts that would have been far more interesting than the Hartnett-Johansson-Eckhart romance. Scarlett has little to do but purse her luscious red lips and look desirable in tight blouses, which she does quite well. Josh is all squinty-eyed intensity and muscled charm, which he does quite well. Aaron tries for more, but goes a bit over the top; perhaps he would have been more comfortable playing a cousin of the Linscotts.

Although "The Black Dahlia" is not the worst way to spend two hours, the film's pedigree would lead viewers to expect more. Only a week after the less-disappointing "Hollywoodland," De Palma's take on another old Hollywood mystery should have been riveting. All of the essentials were there, except possibly a seasoned troop of stars, for another "L.A. Confidential." Unfortunately, what arrived was a nearly indecipherable mystery within a tedious love triangle that was wrapped in multi-million dollar production values.

Reviewed by MovieZoo 4 / 10

Disjointed murder in the first degree

Brace yourself for some real truth. As you noticed on IMDb, this movie was advertised as "Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller". The trailer makes the movie look the same. Unfortunately, if you go to this movie with that in mind, you may and should be disappointed. When I see the genre described as it was, I want to see just that. Oh, you can add comic relief, maybe good music, some reasonable horror and nostalgia, but do not do what was done to The Black Dahlia.

They obviously didn't intend to make this a serious movie, but rather it was a cheap attempt to imitate a Film Noir sometimes, a TV mystery sometimes and then other times I don't think they knew what they actually wanted to do.

When I am sucked into a movie that I believe is going to be a mystery, I want to be able to enjoy the movie throughout and get involved in the mystery. In this case, the viewer has to spend far too much time trying to figure out what the movie is trying to do. Just give me the mystery that the movie is about. No one needs to make the movie-making process a mystery.

For those of you who are going just to see Scarlett Johansson, I have to say I am very disappointed in her. Her acting needs a lot of improvement or she needs to find movies that embrace her sensuality. Yeah, she is sexy in this movie, too, but her voice does not fit her actions and her acting is puzzling, not mysterious. I want the Scarlett I knew from "Lost In Translation" and "American Rhapsody" at least she could act and her voice fit her character. Other main characters were just as puzzling, however. And honestly, the best and most interesting characters were treated somewhat like extras, though one of those "extras" was by far the best actress in the movie.

You can call this an imitation Film Noir Graphic Novel that should have taken a more serious approach to even those genres.

I gave it a 4 out of 10 out of generosity.

Reviewed by soriano329 3 / 10

visually dazzling but ultimately disappointing

Brian De Palma's so called "film noir" has all the aspects of a great film: detectives, guns, murder, a beautiful blonde, an Oscar winning brunette, and a boxing match. It involves violence, money, pimps, porn, and "the most notorious murder in California history". Sadly though, the movie just doesn't cut it.

The Black Dahlia isn't about murder, or guns, or pimps or porn. The Black Dahlia is about the new American dream: to sleep with Scarlett Johansson. The Dahlia isn't even introduced until a third of the movie is over, the longest 45 minutes I've ever experienced in cinema. A good hour of the movie doesn't have anything to do with the plot, and watching it is just like watching paint dry. Much of this wasted screen time is attributed to the relationship between Sgt. Leland "Lee" Blanchard (Aaron Eckert) and Officer. Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert (Josh Hartnett), where we see their transformation from enemies to partners to friends unrealistically fast, which is unrealistically cliché.

But the biggest downside of the movie is Josh Hartnett. What Hartnett is doing as a serious actor is beyond me, but his performance is a wooden as they come. It is unbelievable that he was considered for the role of Bleichert, and the fact that he was cast really makes me lose faith in Hollywood's mainstream actors. His noir-ish voice-over was like reading words off the script, making it feel less and less like the artsy film De Palma intended it to be.

The only redeeming feature of the flick was Mia Kirshner who had about one minute of screen time as the Dahlia, but was the most memorable character. Oh, yeah, and we do get to see Hilary Swank's ass.

But overall, The Black Dahlia is just another bad film to cap off the summer. It is extremely confusing with all its pointless sub-plots, and just gets annoying at the end. It's one of those movies you consider walking out of, and I counted down the minutes to what I thought would be a climactic finale, but was just a series of long monologues and unclear speaking. In the end, we learned little about the Dahlia, and were pretty much back where we started, except for a few missing comrades.

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