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The Black Dahlia
7 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Brian DePalma

Written By:
James Ellroy, Josh Friedman

Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart, Mia Kirshner, Hilary Swank, Mike Starr, Fiona Shaw, Patrick Fischler, Troy Evans, Pepe Serna, Angus MacInnes, Rachel Miner, Anthony Russell, John Kavanagh, James Otis, James Otis

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The Black Dahlia (2006)
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Movie Review by Jen
September 26th, 2006

Could there be a movie any more convoluted while still being over the top? This is a case of the old film school warning "You can make a BAD movie without a good script, but you can't make a GOOD movie without a good script." Or good performances for that matter.

The film is visually beautiful. DePalma uses color and his camera in a way that shows the world what an established director should be able to do. However, his artful direction could not save this film from what it became- a watered down ill thought out waste of money.

Josh Hartnett stars as "Buckey", a detective who begrudgingly gets assigned to cover the murder of Elizabeth Short (played admirably by Mia Kershner) with his obsessive and corrupt partner Lee (Aaron Eckhart). However, we don't find that out for nearly an hour of the film. The first forty-five minutes are spent setting up the relationship between the two partners and the strange relationship with Lee's girlfriend/fiancee/charity case (Another unbelievable over the top performance from scarlett johansson- why do people keep hiring her? all her characters are essentially the same- or they're impressions of woody allen) As Lee becomes more and more obsessed with the case, Buckey struggles to hold him and the case together without getting dragged down himself (by sometimes lesbian bored rich girl Hilary Swank)

We are given information about Short's death and her tragic life as a struggling actress who makes some very unfortunate decisions leading to her demise. But really the focus was never on the case, was it?

Like the recent Hollywoodland, this is based on an actual case. But unlike Hollywoodland, this film is not put together with all information in consideration. Once the long unnecessary introduction to our principle players is done, the film rushes through the case itself, throwing together a flimsy case and an even flimsier ending which we are supposed to buy because hey, we really only came to this movie to see Josh and Scarlett right? Cause they are like.... sooooo dreamy.

That may seem a bit ridiculous, but that is how this movie is written. It's dummed down and it's like they hoped nobody would notice if they placed two pretty young and grossly unqualified inexperienced actors in the leading roles.

In summation, the film "The Black Dahlia" is just like the case of the Elizabeth Short murder. A tragic cautionary tale to everyone in hollywood, and a big mess to everyone else.

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