The Black Dalhia Worst Film Essay

Topics: The Black Dahlia, Brian De Palma, Aaron Eckhart Pages: 2 (799 words) Published: November 9, 2006
Snickers really satisfy; "The Black Dahlia" does not!

If all that mattered in movie-making was that the end result was pretty to look at, I would be giving Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia a rave review. There's no denying the film's visual virtues: the cinematography, the set design, the costumes, the hairstyles and the makeup. The screenplay, however, is another matter. For about 90 minutes, it moves at a fast pace, the movie is flowing but with just a few minor rapids, then as the end approaches, it goes into a freefall over a waterfall and lands with a crash. The ending is so complicated that it requires not just one but two explanation scenes and, even after those, we're still not sure how everything fits together. While it's true that many thrillers emphasize style over substance, few are as unsatisfying and confusing as "The Black Dahlia." The Black Dahlia is based on the fictional novel by James Ellroy, not the real-life unsolved mystery. Ellroy used that cold case as a starting point for his novel, and the movie does the same thing. In actuality, the murder of Elizabeth Short (the actual "Black Dahlia" case) is only a subplot in the film. This is the story of two fictional detectives assigned to the crime. It's the need to tie everything into a neat package at the end that exposes the most outrageous flaws. L.A.P.D. detectives Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) and Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) are the department's stars because of their record in bringing fugitives to justice. Hartnett seems ideal for this line of work. He has a slow-to-wake innocence that suits a character whose detective skills always appear to be two or three scenes behind ours. The character's smarts are slightly below average, and Hartnett doesn't have the seriousness to raise him up. He's almost too innocent. At the time of the infamous "Black Dahlia" murder, where the dismembered body of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner) is discovered in an open field, Bucky and...
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