The Black Dahlia Reviews

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September 15, 2006
The convoluted plot would be exhausting even if it were believable. It isn't.
September 15, 2006
Brian De Palma spent three years struggling to get The Black Dahlia made, which helps explain why the movie has the feel of something that was left in the oven too long: It's both overcooked and undernourishing.
September 15, 2006
Despite some amusing distractions, watching the big picture coalesce is not unlike watching someone complete a jigsaw puzzle. It all comes together eventually, but you already saw the image on the box.
September 15, 2006
Dahlia seethes with atmosphere, and Hollywood's underbelly is always worth an ogle.
September 15, 2006
No wonder The Black Dahlia has the suffocated tint of a face starved for oxygen -- this isn't film noir, it's film bleu.
September 15, 2006
If you like any of the lead actors, don't go see this movie. If you like good movies, don't go see this movie. If you're a steady customer at Helga's House of Pain, this one's for you.
September 15, 2006
It's easier to navigate the highway system of modern L.A. than keep track of the ever-shifting tone and direction of The Black Dahlia, and the cast appears at least as perplexed as we are.
September 15, 2006
This fictionalized tale of two Los Angeles detectives assigned to the gruesome 1940s murder of a real-life wannabe starlet begins as a slow but intriguing character study that gradually unravels into a turgid mess.
September 15, 2006
The zoot suits and fedoras look great, but without a script or hard-eyed private detective in sight, it's merely a production designer's exercise.
September 15, 2006
Such a heinous crime would seem ideal for the man who gave us Scarface, but Mr. De Palma uses the murder as a springboard for pretentious social commentary and garish exercises in camp.
September 15, 2006
Such a shame that The Black Dahlia collapses into a gruesome pile of steaming camp in the last half hour.
September 15, 2006
Director Brian De Palma will probably take the rap for this tepid noir, but the real culprits are Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson, red-hot lovers in life but (as ever) gorgeous stiffs on-screen.
September 15, 2006
Since The Black Dahlia more or less tells the story of an actress, a heinously murdered one at that, it makes sense that the first thing you notice about this so-so adaptation of James Ellroy's novel is the shoddy acting.
September 14, 2006
The best you can say about The Black Dahlia: For people who like this kind of thing, this is the kind of thing they will like.
September 14, 2006
The Black Dahlia, set in the 1940s, exists to make L.A. Confidential look like God's gift to noir by comparison.
September 14, 2006
There are some virtuoso moments (the discovery of the mutilated corpse is extremely well done and blessedly ungraphic), but overall the result is much less than prime De Palma.
September 14, 2006
There's more moral weight in one paragraph of James Ellroy's somber 1987 novel The Black Dahlia than in all 121 minutes of Brian De Palma's florid, sprawling, self-satisfied film version.
September 14, 2006
In reaching for tragic grandeur and psychological complexity, the movie takes on a lot of baggage that it can't quite carry.
September 14, 2006
The Black Dahlia is an essay in incoherence. The confusion wouldn't matter if there were any feeling onscreen, but the blood and innards seem missing from the movie, too.
September 14, 2006
Swank's character and her performance are good enough to merit a movie of their own, instead of serving as fourth wheel to this lifeless ménage à trois.
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