The Black Dahlia (Widescreen Edition)
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It got a bad rap but is a better film than indicated though I will warn that some casual moviegoers will have a hard time following it.
The movie follows two ex boxer buddy cops (Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart) who both "love" the same woman (played by Scarlet Johansen). Said woman has a dark past and is married to the character played by Eckhart. You can imagine one of the paths that will manifest in this love triangle but I leave it to your imagination.
There is a true visual brilliance in this picture. Perhaps too much that the story gets put in the background at times. As there were complaints that this tale is convoluted one has to remember that this is a mystery with clue trails and red herrings are going to be obvious yet perhaps unsatisfying to some viewers. Perhaps one of the problems is that by the time the mystery is solved it doesn't feel "big" enough or emotionally moving enough to have a satisfying ending?
Still worth a look but this isn't as good as L.A. Confidential.
In addition to names already mentioned this also stars Hillary Swank and Mike Starr.
This just about broke even at the Box Office in comparison to its budget.
STORY/PLOTTING: B; CHARACTERS/DIALOGUE: B plus; NOIR ELEMENTS: B minus; CLUE TRAILS/RESULT: B; CINEMATOGRAPHy: B plus to A minus; WHEN WATCHED: mid October 2012 (streamed); OVERALL GRADE: B.
The movie is based on the James Ellroy novel of the same name, a highly fictionalized telling of Hollywood's most notorious unsolved murder case. On January 15, 1947, a young woman named Beth Short was found brutally slain - her body gruesomely dismembered and gutted - in a field in Los Angeles. The case became a cause celebre around the nation, with speculation rife as to the background of the victim and the identity of the perpetrator, but the actual killer was never found. The movie focuses on two fictional homicide detectives, played by Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart, who, to varying degrees, become obsessed with the case. Their investigation leads them into the heart of a film noir maelstrom comprised almost exclusively of twisted psychosexual perverts and Tinsel Town sickos.
Thanks to Vilmos Zsigmond's fine cinematography and all the spiffy 1940's paraphernalia with which the costume designer and art directors have decked out the movie, "The Black Dahlia" is never anything but dazzling to look at, but in almost every other respect, the film is a monumental disappointment. Although the first half is relatively straightforward in its approach and style, by about the midway point, De Palma's trademark cinematic excesses - stilted dialogue, floridly staged action scenes, campy performances, and overemphatic music - begin to take over and the film becomes an incoherent mess.Read more ›
For all the rich texture of the monochromatic cinematography (so we'd know we're watching a modern film noir), all the posturing of SCARLETT JOHANSSON with her long cigarette holder, all the fake glamor of HILARY SWANK, and all the convoluted plot lines, it's hard to find a trace of the Elizabeth Short story here. And that's the film's main problem. Her story is really just background filler for some very complicated fictional characters and situations that exist outside the story of THE BLACK DAHLIA, a murder never actually solved.
While watching it unfold, I couldn't help thinking how much better this would have been as a gritty film noir back in the '40s in the sort of shimmering B&W photography that Michael Curtiz used for THE UNSUSPECTED--and with an actor like Humphrey Bogart as the lead detective with either Lauren Bacall or Lizabeth Scott as the femme fatale. And if they needed a brunette siren they could always use Marie Windsor. Hilary Swank really has done much better work elsewhere.
Furthermore, the story chosen from the James Elroy novel which does give a solution to the crime, is an absurd one that is not made even remotely believable by the creation of the Fiona Shaw character who seems to be existing in another movie--a farce. Nor is the narration spoken by Josh Hartnett--in a monotone that I found alienating--any help in explaining the twisted course of events.
DePalma missed the opportunity in bringing the Elizabeth Short story to the screen as stark drama in any way that makes sense.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Deal! Excellent Product!! Super Fast Delivery!!! Thanks a Bunch!!!!Published 4 days ago by Brett
The Black Dahlia is a real life, unsolved murder; maybe one of the most infamous in the Los Angeles area. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Wesley Bob
Ordered this as a gift. The DVD arrived quickly and was well packaged. I had viewed this picture and enjoyed it. The movie incorporates facts of the actual event well. Read morePublished 10 days ago by J. Alberts
Horrible acting and story line. Very disappointed with this one.Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
If I could give this movie zero stars I would - and I generally LOVE movies. I have never seen such a riveting subject matter with the potential for such an interesting... Read morePublished 2 months ago by LKBBA
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