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Lee Blanchard and Bucky Bleichert are former boxers-turned-cops in 1940's Los Angeles and, when an aspiring young actress turns up dead, Blanchard and Bleichert must grapple with corruption, narcissism, stag films and family madness as they pursue the killer.
The Black Dahlia is not the kind of film that gets made by accident or by noble failure, but with great purpose and alacrity. The Black Dahlia is pure acid satire, the rotten, putrid collapse of a pathetic reality into an even more pathetic fiction, with nothing left in the end. Reality is stage-managed badly in The Black Dahlia, capable of manipulation, of plot and counterplot, for ends venal, trivial, nonsensical. The Black Dahlia has no pretense to realism, not in itself, not as a period piece, not even as it sometimes seems to want to be, a poverty-row 1940's potboiler noir rushed out to capitalize on its true-crime subject. The visual field is shallow, stagy, small in scope, with…
Golden hues turn flat-out angelic when they light up Johansson, though they also project a shadow behind her that looks like the outline of those too close to ground zero of a nuclear strike. The son of a Kraut immigrant knows before his superior officers come to him to fix an exhibition match that he has to use to his all-American partner and friend. That same man feels an empathy for the people of color terrorized by a local killer, but the partner quickly transfers the pair of them to follow up on this mysteriously and gruesomely mangled white girl. The partner has an obsessive need to rescue or avenge women, but he views them as damaged goods afterward; his…
Points for the ambitious vision, and for the occasional image that's so dreamily sure of itself it almost floats free of the movie - like the slow-zooming shot of Mike Starr laying down the law at the crime scene as other officers' hats and faces float in and out of the frame in a shocked and disgusted stupor. Fabulous.
Points for making a case for Josh Hartnett - Josh, we missed you.
But yeah, the screenplay wants one thing - plot - and De Palma wants another - mood. Each has its way of getting at the intrigue of the time and place and what happened. But they can't get along, here. You feel De Palma straining for the free,…
Not even the great Brian De Palma could save this film with such an inexperienced screenwriter as Josh Friedman who's known for Chain Reaction and the War of the Worlds remake. I actually liked the atmosphere, but the narrative was far from fluid. A lack of focus on the murders while focusing on silly attempts at drama just doesn't interest me. The casting was okay and yet lacked any standout performances.
They had quite the budget for this film and didn't quite make it back. Makes me wonder what they spent it on. At least it had the look of a noir type film with leads who did a decent job with their roles. My problems are with the story and its contrived twists that attempt to be clever. Josh Friedman could learn a lot from the movie, Zodiac.
Fantastic style and atmosphere, but the script is a mess.
"Make it look good."
The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy is a perfect crime novel, moody, rich, and atmospheric, thick with plot, historical detail, and an ultimately unique statement on the detective genre itself. It is also one of the only written texts to have defeated Brian De Palma - but it was a rigged fight from the beginning.
I'm loath to say this in the midst of the TV vs Movie Wars, but as I read the novel for the first time a few weeks ago I realized pretty early on that this should have been a miniseries, 6 or 7 hours long, with enough room for both the details and the full implications of Ellroy's plot and dialogue…
this is the brownest movie I have ever seen in my life
Fire and Ice
The first thing on people’s minds, I suspect, is if The Black Dahlia is good Brian De Palma or bad Brian De Palma, and if you look at my rating, you can probably guess what conclusion I came to. Even then, let’s see if we can drag out the answer a little longer - in my mind, this is certainly a high-energy Brian De Palma film, even if it doesn’t fall straight into the category of being a Hitchcock-inspired, blood-soaked thriller, nor straight into a gangster mold à la The Untouchables, but sort of ends up in a Goldilocks spot between the two. Based off the James Ellroy novel,…
It's almost impressive how De Palma managed to miscast every important character in his film. Everything in "The Black Dahlia" sounds and looks fake. The script is a mess. I was bored to tears most of the time. I'm sad because De Palma doing Ellroy should have been great but it fell flat on its face.
November 2016 Scavenger Hunt #17: A movie from a bargain bin
...and one that deserves to be in the bargain bin!
I guess this is supposed to be satirizing the film noir, but to me it just felt like a cheap copy of them. ...not that I'm a huge fan of film noirs in the first place, but at least older film noirs have a certain charm to them. This was just cheesy and, most of the time, more boring than it should have been given its plot.
I never want to hear Scarlett Johansson try to do an accent ever again.
An aesthetically pleasing genre exercise directed by De Palma. That's what I was looking to get out of this on a rewatch and that's what I got. Solid neo-noir movie.
Nama Elizabeth udah dua kali nih dipake buat karakter seorang pekerja seks yang kemudian jadi korban pembunuhan. Di Scoop kan juga gitu. Bedanya Elizabeth di The Black Dahlia ini bener2 ada dan pelaku pembunuhan sadisnya gak pernah terungkap!!!
Cerita filmnya kalo dipikir-pikir sih keren abis, apalagi ini berdasarkan novel yang juga berdasarkan kisah pembunuhan nyata. Tapi kok aku seperti bingung, ya? Terlalu banyak cerita di sini. Ada dua kasus, tapi pokoknya bikin bingung dialognya jadi aku gak bisa bener2 paham. Terlalu banyak rahasia dan hubungan antara kisah satu dengan kisah yang lain, jadi kayak gak selesai2 sampe filmnya udahan. Capek gak sih? Ibarat dikasih setumpuk pekerjaan, gitu deh Sampe akhirnya aku baca di Wiki baru deh segalanya terang-benderang.
While I believe, based on its poor audience reception, this film is grossly misunderstood, I do feel that it achieved its goals in reminiscing through old Hollywood styles and motifs in the context of an old Hollywood story, but in the end, it's just not that good.
THE BLACK DAHLIA only really works on the surface level, with its script and characters serving just to act as archetypes, the foundation for a visual aesthetic that director Brian De Palma and cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond make the most of. It's more of a genre exercise than anything, and in that respect it's a fairly enjoyable, if not entirely satisfying, viewing experience.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Peeping Tom, Night of the Hunter and a whole host of older films were ignored or given bad reviews upon…