Release Date: September 15th, 2006 by Universal Pictures.
The Cast: Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Mia Kirshner, Mike Starr, Fiona Shaw, Patrick Fischler, James Otis, John Kavanagh, Troy Evans, Anthony Russell, Pepe Serna, Angus MacInnes, Rachel Miner, Victor McGuire.
Directed by Brian De Palma.
BASIC PREMISE: In 1947, two Los Angeles cops (Hartnett and Eckhart) investigate the grisly murder of Betty Short (Kirshner).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:. Josh Hartnett plays boxer-turned-cop Dwight “Bucky” Bleichart who partners with Leland "Lee" Blanchard to find who murdered Betty Short. As the investigation unfolds, the plot gets more and more absurd and unfocused. Bleichart finds out that Betty once auditioned for a role in a porno film in Hollywood and, soon, he befriends a strange, seductive woman, Madeleine (Swank) whom Betty impersonated in the screen tests. Madeleine’s crazy family welcomes Bleichart to their home in a hilarious dinner scene. Although the production values look stylish, especially the costume design, set design and cinematography, The Black Dahlia has a chaotic, contrived plot with mediocre performances. Hilary Swank certainly looks sexy, but the script doesn’t make her character seem believable. Bleichart seems a bit too bland as a main character while he has no chemistry his girlfriend (Johansson). Screenwriter Josh Friedman includes too many gimmicks in the plot without any real suspense. All of the pieces of the puzzle come together in the over-the-top, unsatisfying ending.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None is required or desired.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Contrived, absurd and convoluted.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 3
IN A NUTSHELL: Well-directed and stylish, but a contrived script filled with absurdity and lacking in suspense.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "B" Menu