Reviews

  • 5d ago

    Enjoyed the plot, the era, and the suspense!

    Enjoyed the plot, the era, and the suspense!

  • Nov 23, 2021

    What an absolutely moronic movie. The Black Dalia case is barely a footnote in this charade of a movie. The "theory" for solving the crime is absurd, and leaves so many other open questions that it should spawn a whole other series of movies just to solve those crimes. What a complete waste of a topic that was so ripe for a quality movie.

    What an absolutely moronic movie. The Black Dalia case is barely a footnote in this charade of a movie. The "theory" for solving the crime is absurd, and leaves so many other open questions that it should spawn a whole other series of movies just to solve those crimes. What a complete waste of a topic that was so ripe for a quality movie.

  • Sep 20, 2021

    Trama fitta, in continuo mutamento e molto complessa anche per un genere in cui è diventato quasi essenziale alzare sempre l'asticella della suspense. Le atmosfere e i colori riportano facilmente indietro a quell'epoca; anche alcuni primi piani agli attori con pose esasperate sono totalmente in linea con quanto cercato. Alcuni personaggi minori molto bizzarri e stilizzati erano onestamente evitabili e in alcuni passaggi sarebbe stato utile allo spettatore avere qualche spiegazione in più per stare al passo con la trama.

    Trama fitta, in continuo mutamento e molto complessa anche per un genere in cui è diventato quasi essenziale alzare sempre l'asticella della suspense. Le atmosfere e i colori riportano facilmente indietro a quell'epoca; anche alcuni primi piani agli attori con pose esasperate sono totalmente in linea con quanto cercato. Alcuni personaggi minori molto bizzarri e stilizzati erano onestamente evitabili e in alcuni passaggi sarebbe stato utile allo spettatore avere qualche spiegazione in più per stare al passo con la trama.

  • Aug 15, 2021

    Living in LA I recall reading all the buzz about this movie when it came out in 2006 and made a mental note to check it out. Fast forward 15 years and I found the DVD in the LA Public Library (yeah!) and decided to check it out (literally and figuratively -- get it? Public Library and check out??) I can't add much more than what everyone has posted.. the professional critics were spot on as were the rest of us. Here is what I learned: 1) Los Angeles had some pretty darned FAB-U-LOUS lesbian bars back then!! I mean!! Big fleshy dance numbers in one place and totally fabulous bar with lesbians looking fantastic. Gone are the days, eh? 2) Seems to rain a lot in LA back then. I mean A LOT! Almost all night scenes show freshly wet streets and such. Nice for the "noir" look, for sure, but it never rained that much in LA as depicted in this flick. Not in the late 1940s and especially not now! 3) It's really really hard to provide period-set cover shots in LA so De Palma's story boarding and locations are a text book case on how to try to achieve this : - complex long shots with specific and changing fields of focus, following the actors and action - extremely well framed and very tightly shot 4) Construct all the large period piece sets in Bulgaria where labor is SUPER CHEAP and fly the actors in for filming.

    Living in LA I recall reading all the buzz about this movie when it came out in 2006 and made a mental note to check it out. Fast forward 15 years and I found the DVD in the LA Public Library (yeah!) and decided to check it out (literally and figuratively -- get it? Public Library and check out??) I can't add much more than what everyone has posted.. the professional critics were spot on as were the rest of us. Here is what I learned: 1) Los Angeles had some pretty darned FAB-U-LOUS lesbian bars back then!! I mean!! Big fleshy dance numbers in one place and totally fabulous bar with lesbians looking fantastic. Gone are the days, eh? 2) Seems to rain a lot in LA back then. I mean A LOT! Almost all night scenes show freshly wet streets and such. Nice for the "noir" look, for sure, but it never rained that much in LA as depicted in this flick. Not in the late 1940s and especially not now! 3) It's really really hard to provide period-set cover shots in LA so De Palma's story boarding and locations are a text book case on how to try to achieve this : - complex long shots with specific and changing fields of focus, following the actors and action - extremely well framed and very tightly shot 4) Construct all the large period piece sets in Bulgaria where labor is SUPER CHEAP and fly the actors in for filming.

  • Jun 09, 2021

    A convoluted mess. Instead of a straight story line, this film is a road map. I was expecting the plot to be more about Short and the laundry list of potential suspects (like George Hodel), instead it's a romance triangle movie. The Dahlia case is a total afterthought. Completely non-interesting.

    A convoluted mess. Instead of a straight story line, this film is a road map. I was expecting the plot to be more about Short and the laundry list of potential suspects (like George Hodel), instead it's a romance triangle movie. The Dahlia case is a total afterthought. Completely non-interesting.

  • Apr 09, 2021

    This film was quite good except for too many sub-plots and characters.

    This film was quite good except for too many sub-plots and characters.

  • Dec 06, 2020

    I have not read Ellroy's book, but I am rather knowledgable about this case, having read seven books on it, none of which seem to me good and some of which are downright irresponsible. After fifteen minutes, it became plain that the movie was using the case as a backdrop for a noir story of romance and police procedure and would not attempt to deal with the particulars of the death of Elizabeth Short. That's both good and bad. It frees the story from coming up with a plausible explanation of this probably unsolvable crime and means that the movie can stand on its own as a story. Here, I have reservations. The plot is not set forth with sufficient clarity, and some of the assumptions as to how people would act are ludicrous. Many characters are heightened, thin, unbelievable caricatures, although the hero, Bucky Bleichert, remains this side of plausibility. The melodramatic conclusion is so huddled that the last fifteen minutes disappoint rather than stun, as I believe they are intended to do. There is no evidence that Elizabeth Short took part in most of the activities the film suggests that she did, but that can be chalked up to artistic license. The period atmosphere is effective for a while, although Kay Lake's kitchen has appliances that were not around in 1947. Something supposed to be a Ming vase didn't look like one to me. Also there were no ball point pens in America until the early 1950's. However, people did smoke all the time, and the typewriters could have looked like that. The most interesting theme—not fully or sufficiently developed—is that in Hollywood making movies and living are intertwined or identified. I suppose it could be argued that that underscores the artificiality of the denouement, but if we are supposed to believe and even be moved by the plight of these tortured characters, they have to possess credible human reactions and emotions, not be pieces in a tangle of heartless manipulation explained like a set of mechanical operations.

    I have not read Ellroy's book, but I am rather knowledgable about this case, having read seven books on it, none of which seem to me good and some of which are downright irresponsible. After fifteen minutes, it became plain that the movie was using the case as a backdrop for a noir story of romance and police procedure and would not attempt to deal with the particulars of the death of Elizabeth Short. That's both good and bad. It frees the story from coming up with a plausible explanation of this probably unsolvable crime and means that the movie can stand on its own as a story. Here, I have reservations. The plot is not set forth with sufficient clarity, and some of the assumptions as to how people would act are ludicrous. Many characters are heightened, thin, unbelievable caricatures, although the hero, Bucky Bleichert, remains this side of plausibility. The melodramatic conclusion is so huddled that the last fifteen minutes disappoint rather than stun, as I believe they are intended to do. There is no evidence that Elizabeth Short took part in most of the activities the film suggests that she did, but that can be chalked up to artistic license. The period atmosphere is effective for a while, although Kay Lake's kitchen has appliances that were not around in 1947. Something supposed to be a Ming vase didn't look like one to me. Also there were no ball point pens in America until the early 1950's. However, people did smoke all the time, and the typewriters could have looked like that. The most interesting theme—not fully or sufficiently developed—is that in Hollywood making movies and living are intertwined or identified. I suppose it could be argued that that underscores the artificiality of the denouement, but if we are supposed to believe and even be moved by the plight of these tortured characters, they have to possess credible human reactions and emotions, not be pieces in a tangle of heartless manipulation explained like a set of mechanical operations.

  • Jun 24, 2020

    It is well mad and well acted but it seems to obsessed with noir to work properly.

    It is well mad and well acted but it seems to obsessed with noir to work properly.

  • Apr 07, 2020

    Shoots for noir, comes up gris. Simply doesn't make the grade and comes very close to becoming a satire or send-up of the whole noir genre. If you want that period for noir, watch L.A. Confidential. Far, far better. I know Scarlett Johannsen is sooo much better an actor that I have to assume the buck stops with Di Palma, the director. Josh Hartnett comes off ok (just ok, I guess) but the voice over, again trying to be noir, is stilted and stagey. Hard to even know where Aaron Eckhart comes from in all of this; you don't know until the last 2 or 3 minutes. It's like an NBA game, as they say; don't bother with the first 46 minutes of regulation play; just watch the last 2 minutes. No, seriously: watch L.A. Confidential instead.

    Shoots for noir, comes up gris. Simply doesn't make the grade and comes very close to becoming a satire or send-up of the whole noir genre. If you want that period for noir, watch L.A. Confidential. Far, far better. I know Scarlett Johannsen is sooo much better an actor that I have to assume the buck stops with Di Palma, the director. Josh Hartnett comes off ok (just ok, I guess) but the voice over, again trying to be noir, is stilted and stagey. Hard to even know where Aaron Eckhart comes from in all of this; you don't know until the last 2 or 3 minutes. It's like an NBA game, as they say; don't bother with the first 46 minutes of regulation play; just watch the last 2 minutes. No, seriously: watch L.A. Confidential instead.

  • Feb 02, 2020

    Everyone who loves 40's crime movies I recommend this!

    Everyone who loves 40's crime movies I recommend this!