The Black Dahlia
Director Brian De Palma returns to the helm for the first time since 2002’s “Femme Fatale” with this stylish screen adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel detailing one of the most notorious unsolved murders in Hollywood history. Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner) was a struggling actress looking to make a name for herself in 1940s-era Tinseltown. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, it was her grim fate that would ultimately overshadow anything she would accomplish during her short and tragic career.
When police discover Elizabeth’s body cut clean in half and with all of her organs missing, ex-pugilist detectives Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) are the men charged with cracking the case and apprehending the killer. This isn’t your average murder case however, and as Blanchard’s marriage to Kay (Scarlett Johansson) begins to suffer due to his obsession with the sensational crime, his partner Bleichert discovers a troubling link between the victim and the mysterious Madeleine Linscott (Hillary Swank), a prominent socialite and the daughter of one of the town’s most connected key players.
“The Black Dahlia” is a “who done it” crime film such that by the middle of the film you don’t care who done it, you just wish for the film to end. There is no character development and it is hard to follow exactly what is going on. The story is not told very well and they try too hard to imitate an old film noir and fall extremely short. When you combine the graphic, gratuitous violence, the nudity and the many sexual encounters, “The Black Dahlia” is a film about as tasteless as they get. Avoid this one and rent one of the old classic crime films instead.