The Black Dahlia .............Nothing stays hidden forever.....
It amazes me how people claiming to be able to properly review a film
can only say about The Black Dahlia "It was too confusing" or "I
couldn't follow the plot". My view is that people were mislead by the
title into assuming that the Black Dahlia murder itself was to be main
focus, which any true McEllroy and De Palma fans will tell you is not
and was not ever the case. These people then decided they weren't going
to enjoy the film, zoned out and complained that it was hard to
follow!! Well let me tell you if you like your films intelligent, dark,
atmospheric and emotionally charged this is most definitely the one for
The plot of course centers on LAPD Officers Dwight 'Bucky' Bleichart(
Josh Harnett) and Leland 'Lee' Blanchard( Aaron Eckhart) aka Mr.Ice and
Mr.Fire respectively due to their boxing skills and the tale is told by
Bucky ( in voice-overs) The film's backdrop is the horrific and now
infamous murder rising star Elizabeth'Beth'Shortt( Mia Kershner) aka
'The Black Dahlia' whose disfigured mutilated remains were found in
August 1947 by a woman walking her baby in downtown L.A. Our two
protagonists are called in to investigate the crime which was so
horrible that all the details were kept from the public.
While Lee and Bucky go all out to solve the heinous crime each is also
dealing with his personal issues. Lee's growing obsession with the case
threatens his relationship with his girlfriend Kay ( Scarlett
Johanssen). Added to the strain is the eminent release of Bobby De Witt
whom Lee had previously put behind bars for numerous crimes including
some close to home. Bucky meanwhile finds himself entwined in a
love-affair with wealthy if rebellious Madeline Linscott(Hilary Swank)
who bears an uncanny resemblance to Beth Shortt, while also dealing
with his feelings for Kay.
Special mention to Aaron Eckhart's pitiful obsessed yet tragic
portrayal of Blanchard whose dedication to the case proves his undoing.
Josh Harnett is on top form as the narrator Bucky, the new recruit
struggling with his feelings for Kay and Madeline while trying to keep
his partner together. He portrays Bucky's struggles and angst
Scarlett Johanssen is currently the sweetheart of Hollywood and it's
easy to see why. Not only has she the beauty of all those old 40s
sirens but she plays Kay with the skills of a woman twice her age. She
is both headstrong and lost. The electricity between her and Bucky is
Hilary Swank is the mysterious heiress to whom Bucky is drawn. Her
Madeline is a strong woman with a dark side to her and Hilary captures
Beth Shortt we get to know through interviews with acquaintances and
screen test recordings featuring the beautiful Mia Kershner as the
doomed 'Dahlia'. Mia portrays Beth as a lost frightened little girl who
feels she has to sell herself to be. She is a beautiful and tragic
figure. A perfect performance.
This is an intense atmospheric thriller that catches you from the word
go and doesn't let you unhook yourself till the end credits. The
performances are passionate and captivating.The 40s style
Cinematography is beautiful and atmospheric with a Film Noir quality.
The story is full of side plots and twists to keep the viewer on
his/her toes. While some may call it confusing and unwatchable I say
you simply need to have enough of a brain to be able to think it
The 1940s style cinematography is beautiful and gives the film a dark
atmospheric edge and the acting is superb. De Palma keeps faithful to
McEllroy's excellent novel but gives the story an energy and intense
emotional drive that can only be given on screen.
This is definitely a film I would recommend as a must-see to anyone who
likes a good thriller.Remember that the 'Dahlia'herself is not the main
focus of the film, since Ellroy's book was not focused solely on her.
Rather she is the catalyst for the all the events following the
murder.Just keep an open mind and rather than being put off by the
focus of the story think it through logically and you won't have a
problem understanding anything.
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crazzzy movie! just a good movie all around.
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a seductive crime drama.
My bf said it's nice, so i want to see it too..
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Great movie... =) Good cast...
There are so many things to like about this film that it is hard to
even consider the minor problems one encounters in its final third.
True, it's a complex resolution, and some members of the audience are
going to find something to complain about; yet overall, the film
delivers, and when it shines, it's amazing.
Brian De Palma has been an underrated talent for most of his career.
People have found some of his films objectionable because of their
content. Interestingly enough, critics and other award organizations
had no problem honoring people like Scorcese, even though his films are
characterized by much violence, too. Still De Palma has given us
classic cinema moments and has directed some terrific award winning
performances as well. In here, there are two outstanding turns: Aaron
Eckhart and Hilary Swank. The former shines as the complex and
mysterious cop who might have a few skeletons in his closet, and Swank
tears the screen with her femme fatale that honors the film noir
tradition that De Palma has fully revived in "Dahlia".
The film has an impeccable production team that recreates a period that
was exciting and remarkable in cinema. Here are the dark parts of the
city with its very interesting inhabitants. If you are in a noir film,
odds are you have something questionable in your past, and "Dahlia"
doesn't disappoint introducing us to people who have no qualms taking
advantage of others, or having no remorse at all, regardless of how
depraved the crime might be.
I like the way De Palma balances innocence and evil, and how nothing is
truly black and white. Did Short bring upon her the terrible fate that
she met? Was is it just plain luck that she ran into the sick people
who eventually destroyed her? How does one justify such actions? There
is no judgement offered by De Palma, but he tempts to audience to weigh
in an opinion and still leaves you full of questions.
The film is no "Chinatown". That was a masterpiece where every element
was perfectly balanced. Here there is something missing at the core and
some casting choices might be questonable. However, Swank recalls the
great cinema actresses of the noir era and does the stereotypes
justice. She makes the experience enjoyable. If "Hollywoodland" had
someone like De Palma at the helm, that film would have caught fire. Or
I wonder what would have happened if Diane Lane had played one of the
female parts here? I'm glad De Palma had a chance to work on this film
and present us with a rare treat, a film that dares to go where few do.
It's a great film..