"So I like to try to go back and develop pure visual storytelling. Because to me, it's one of the…
The Black Dahlia
Inspired by the most notorious unsolved murder in California history.
Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) are former boxers-turned-cops in 1940's Los Angeles. When aspiring young actress Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner) 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.
james ellroy's mother was raped and murdered in los angeles on june 22, 1958. the killer was never found, and while random leads still filter in from time to time, ellroy and the cops both know the chances of ever knowing are close to zero. one of his major themes in his works is that, in his words - "closure is bullshit".
brian de palma doesn't believe much in closure either. if it does happen, it's the closure of a life - like carlito's (in carlito's way), or of a dream, like laure's (in femme fatale). the synergy of these 2 boisterous personas, in their respective mediums leads to a film chock full of literary idioms, filmic homages and uniquely…
I was half expecting Josh Hartnett's character to yell at Aaron Eckhart: "IT'S ABOUT WHAT'S FAIR!" ironically since Eckhart was the one thriving and reveling in an imbalance in the film.
Joking aside, this is the weakest De Palma film I've seen yet. I have no problem with the acting, I got the impression that it was intended to be filled with a bunch of measured, restrained performances (when it wasn't ones of artifice) complementing a mixture of high and low in radiant lighting and a murky color palette - that sort of more jovial atmosphere of the front half of the 20th century tarnished by the corruption of the film's world.
No, that was all passable as a surface…
The Black Dahlia is a mess, but the knee-jerk negativity it received from critics upon its underwhelming release seems a bit overstated.
There is a palpable sincerity in De Palma's attempt to play around in the melodramatic classicism of his heroes. While his entire career has been (somewhat unfairly) overshadowed by the direct influences of Hitchcock, The Black Dahlia tackles Ellroy's pulp with an overt pastiche that seems even more on-the-nose than the director's most explicit homage.
While the results are certainly mixed, it is a joy to watch a filmmaker approach material with this level of childlike abandon. Every fan of noir or Classic Hollywood melodrama has dreamt of breaking through their television screens and entering the world of…
Not as bad as its reputation but sometimes when De Palma goes full-on into his homage mode he can feel more like imitation than homage. This is one of those cases. It's got all the De Palma hallmarks: split-diopter lenses; wildly inconsistent performances. The movie is a hot mess of plots, I guess because it wants to be a noir? But the Dahlia murder is almost not even the point. It seems kind of pointless to use that real case as a basis for what is here since it's entirely fictitious, and you could argue disrespectful to the actual girl. Seems like quite a bit was cut from the film resulting in some confusing leaps in character motivation and De Palma is so slavishly devoted to noirs all the tropes like femme fatales play out in too predictable a fashion. Still, it's fairly well made and has pretty sets.
"Moment first, scene second, movie third."
Just read the book (which is excellent) so gave the movie another go. Holy shit what a disaster. But credit to DePalma for trying some nutty DePalma things
There's so much crammed in here that it becomes a bit too much to follow.
Not as bad as IMDB made me think it would be. Although it's still quite a mess story wise, it still has some alright qualities: the directing, SOME of the acting and the cinematography.
i was a big fan of the aesthetic of this film just the cinematography, the way the scenes panned out, the kind of bad acting, i loved it all
The Black Dahlia is supposed to be a Film but it acts like an overly long bad TV pilot. It's a giant steaming pile of garbage.
Hilary Swank is a TERRIBLE actress.
Was Scarlett Johansson really in this or was she replaced with a wooden mannequin because I couldn't tell?
The one star is for Josh Hartnett who tried his best to give a good performance to save this mess.
I'm honestly mad at myself for watching the whole 2 hours when I knew within 5 minutes it was shit.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Raising Cain sinuously weaves in and out of dream, nightmare and fantasy states, dropping the startled viewer into the most…