The Black Dahlia - Brian De Palma's New Noir Film



After seeing Brian De Palma's new murder mystery, period piece, about the gruesome murder of Elizabeth Short, better known as, the Black Dahlia, it made me think, 'He went from Scarface to this?" A two hour film that simply could have been squeezed into an hour and a half and could have also used a couple of acting coaches on set, left me smiling from ear to ear as soon as those over anticipated credits began to roll.

The "chemistry" between Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson made me feel like I was watching a couple go through marriage counseling, because they lack communication with each other. Set back in the Nineteen-forties, Josh Hartnett, who plays Bucky Bleichert, a Los Angeles cop, and his partner, Lee Blanchard, played by, Aaron Eckhart, are called to investigate the ghastly murder of wannabe actress, Elizabeth Short, played by Mia Kirshner.

Bucky Bleichert, played by Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson

Peering over the, ripped in half, inert nobody, who is now a somebody, or just a body, Lee becomes obsessed with the Black Dahlia and the murder case distorts his mind. Bucky, who never wanted to take the case in the first place, must now help his partner come to reality, while trying desperately to solve this murder. Searching all over Hollywood, mainly at gay bars, Bucky runs into the Goth-like vixen, Madeleine Linscott, played by Hilary Swank, who has a striking resemblance to the Dahlia, trying to get any means of questioning or clues to the Dahlia's murder. Their love affair opens his eyes to new clues in the case. Yet, there is something about the furtive-mannered, Ms. Linscott that is very untrusting. All the while, Kay Lake, played by Scarlett Johansson, is stuck in the middle of an unpleasing love triangle, with Lee and his partner, Bucky, who is continuously going back and forth between the two girls. We now find out that there is something about Kay's past that will have Bucky questioning their love affair. With all of this going on, the killer is soon revealed at the end, involving many non-prophetic clues leading to the realization of the murder.

Hilary Swank as the femme-fatale, Madeleine Linscott

Hilary Swank did a great job playing the femme fatal and seemed a bit more congenial with Hartnett. The inebriated, Ramona Linscott, played by Fiona Shaw may have overdone her performance, which added an almost awkward comedic touch to the film.
The story was also a little hard to follow, introducing new characters more than halfway through the story made it almost impossible to keep up with names and clues that might have given the audience some sort of answer to the killer. I was disappointed with the stories lack of creativity in solving the murder, hoping that they would have left it unsolved, instead throwing in piss poor remedies for solving the murder. The film's foreshadowing did no justice at all for the ending result.

Lee Blanchard, played by Aaron Eckhartand and Josh Harnett

Overall, the cinematography and production design got an A+, but that's about it. If you're into B movie acting with a taste of thrilling film-noir, then this movie is sure to please.


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