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.
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…
It is something of an achievement that De Palma managed to make such a dull film out of such sensationalist material, but that is the sad truth about the film. It looks gorgeous and rightly deserved its Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. Even the performances aren’t bad, with Hartnett, Eckhart and Johansson all looking right at home in the 40s film noir environment. However, a combination of the slow pacing, subdued tone and lack of much real action or drama make for an incredibly dull viewing experience.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
I can appreciate what De Palma tried to do here, and I think when the movie stays on the central thematic story of the Dahlia (which is where it's mostly focused on being a mystery/thriller) is when it's mostly compelling. However, much of the B-story involving Aaron Eckhart's shady dealings (which were more on the noir side than the thriller side) were both convoluted and uninteresting in the context of the film. These parts would be, I'm fairly certain, quite interesting and manageable in the context of a novel, but are overall clunky momentum-killers when applied to cinema. Which is a shame because Eckhart's performance is clearly the best of the 4 main characters, where Johansson does a lot of…
I'm so glad I had read the novel a few months before I saw this.
Brian de Palma's film follows James Ellroy's labyrinthine but logical plot very closely, but it feels likes a much longer and clearer film was butchered like poor Elizabeth Short.
Even Josh Hartnett's world-wearily laconic Bladerunner-esque voiceover doesn't lend any clarity. In fact, I just wanted to give him a Strepsil and a hot toddy. One just about can get a vague measure of what is going on, but there are too many jumps of logic to get a clear bead on characters' motivations and the more subtle plot developments. For instance, there isn't any gradual slide of Aaron Eckhart's Lee Blanchard into his obsession with…
What the hell?! I don't get you, Brian De Palma. How do you keep producing tosh and, just when people are about to give up on you, you produce genius films? I mean, this is the guy who did the first 'Mission: Impossible' (that I still think is the best), 'Snake Eyes', 'Scarface', 'The Untouchables', etc.) and still produce shlock like this, 'Mission To Mars' and 'Bonfire Of The Vanities'.
Everyone in this film is horribly miscast. You would think Scarlett would make a great saucy dame. And she is, until the seduction scene. She appears in a dressing gown, to show a bit of cleavage, and granny pants. I know its the '40s, but please, if she is not…
This film is so freaking boring and misguided that the Wikipedia page completely passes up the first twenty-five minutes of the film, it doesn't even summarize it in the slightest. It simply goes to the part that most will watch the film for: obviously the murder case of the Black Dahlia. But that is not even remotely the focus of the film. To summarize the focus of the film, simply look above this text at the photo. That's pretty much it. The first twenty-five minutes of the film summarize the history of two of the detectives on the case, their boxing history, their police work, all these other people…
Φιλμ νουάρ,αλλά λίγο βαρετή
Gute Cast und DePalma kanns eig auch, aber insgesamt hatte ich ihn besser in Erinnerung als er dann wirklich war.
Zwischendurch passiert so viel drum herum, dass die Ermittlungen total unter gehen und ich persönlich das Interesse verloren hab.
I was expecting to watch a movie based on the TRUE Black Dahlia murder. However this movie is based on a novel, which in turn, is only minimally based on the actual case. Actually, almost everything we are presented here, concerning the actual murder, is fiction. So what's the point? Why the fuck make a movie about a real murder and fictionalize the actual case so much?
This is a neo-noir movie (I am not a fan of noir cinema) and most of the plot revolves around the two detectives who investigate the black dahlia murder, mostly concerning their private lives and things that have nothing to do with the movie's title. By the end there are some unsatisfying twists,…
Meio confuso mas gostei...
What should have been an interesting film about one of the most intriguing murder cases in American history is unfortunately just a muddled, dull mess... shame
I regret I have but one star to give to this movie.
It had promise of atmosphere, it had promise of plot, it had promise of acting. But it delivered only smoke and emptiness.
I get why many people dislike De Palma's cinematic retelling of The Black Dahlia Murders; for the most part, the film is poorly paced and lacks much intrigue, but it is beautifully presented and collectively well performed.
Aaron Eckhart and the gorgeous ScarJo are undoubtedly the standouts here.
The cinematography, costume, set design, vehicles...everything looks the part.
It's well worth a watch for the aesthetic pleasures alone.
In the same sort of vain as Zodiac, which was released the following year, this film looks at a terrible crime which shocked America and the effects it has on those investigating the crime.
In this case it is Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart playing the cops looking into the gruesome murder of Elizabeth Short. The film looks at how their professional and personal lives unravel as a result of the investigation. Sadly unlike Zodiac which was full of great acting, great edge of your seat tension and some real brains this film just seems to lack any of these. It just seems that the budget maybe wasn't there to hire the great cast, so they were left with the…