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The Black Dahlia (2006)
Crime,Drama,Mystery,Thriller
Germany / English
"Inspired by the most notorious unsolved murder in California history. "
An adaptation of James Ellroy's novel about two 1940s L.A. cops who head up the hunt for the killer of starlet Elizabeth Short.
Josh Hartnett Dwight 'Bucky' Bleichert
Scarlett Johansson Kay Lake
Aaron Eckhart Lee Blanchard
Hilary Swank Madeleine Linscott
Mia Kirshner Elizabeth Short
Mike Starr Det. Russ Millard
Fiona Shaw Ramona Linscott
Patrick Fischler Deputy DA Ellis Loew
James Otis Dolph Bleichert
John Kavanagh Emmett Linscott
Troy Evans Chief Ted Green
Anthony Russell Morrie Friedman
Pepe Serna Tomas Dos Santos
Angus MacInnes Capt. John Tierney (as Angus MacInnis)
Rachel Miner Martha Linscott
Director: Brian De Palma
Producer: Rudy Cohen,Moshe Diamant,Avi Lerner,Art Linson
Writer: Josh Friedman,James Ellroy
over-the-top mess
Anybody expecting to get a great account of the Black Dahlia case, even fictional, will be disappointed going in to this movie. Of course, I knew that it was a fictionalization of the case, but I had no idea the movie would present its own evidence and draw its own conclusions.

But the main problem here is not the lack of factual detail, so much as the confusion of plot that surrounds and overwhelms the Black Dahlia case itself. So much plot and character and sideplots and backstory are built around the central characters that the case itself seems like a distraction. A key plot point and character motivator is the fascination of the two detectives with the murder, but this is never elaborated enough in the film, and we're left to half-heartedly guess at the character motivations.

The tone is never consistently campy, but when the camp arrives it overwhelms the story. A dinner scene between a suspect and her family had the crowd in stitches (the only scene during which the audience laughed). The problem is that the scene is valuable to the plot and should never have been played for laughs. Hitchcock or even Lynch could have shot the same scene, with the same events and dialogue, and made it menacing and creepy, which it needed to be to function in the mystery.

Other problems: De Palma uses the lesbian angle of the movie (never a part of the case) to full exploitative advantage, and the actresses seem unable to master to the expressive 1940s style acting that would have come naturally to even a marginal 40s star.

Although the film brings a clearcut finale rather than a vague puzzle, too many loose threads come together too neatly and rather than bringing the film to a satisfactory conclusion, it leaves you scratching your head, is this what I spent the last 2 hours waiting to hear? Overall, there is too much plot, too little character development and a wildly uneven tone. The movie has its moments but it's a blinding mess all together.

Personal
Seen it:Nej
Nr of disks/tapes:1
Storage device:DVD
Loan
Movie
Imdb rating: 5.6
Musician: Mark Isham
Running time: 121 min
Technical
Subtitles: Svenska
Audio tracks: Dolby Digital 5.1 [English]
Everything else:
Last modified: 2007-07-18 22:31:3