WATCHED & RATED: The Black Dahlia

It’s official, The Black Dahlia is going on ‘the most baffling film’ list. I had to switch to full focus mode, but still it didn’t help. I spent the majority of the film trying to piece together puzzles from previous scenes, that I was even missing important information from the current scene. The Black Dahlia is a crime/ mystery/ drama, so it is understandable that there will be things audiences will be left in the dark about till the end. My issue with the film was that the pace was unnecessarily fast,  that you missed vital clues. When I say the pace was fast it is not to imply that it cut from scene to scene every second, but the dialogue consisted of a lot of ‘Film Noir’ style parables and riddles, that honestly took a while to figure out. Even when all was revealed at the end I was still baffled as to why certain scenes where in the film.

My reason for actually watching The Black Dahlia was a bit shallow. Not being a huge fan of crime drama’s my only incentive to watch was Josh Hartnett, but he couldn’t even save this sinking ship. It’s not so easy to sum up The Black Dahlia in a few words, because there are a few stories going on within the film and they are all very vague. It initially appears to be about the friendship formed by former rivals Dwight ‘Bucky’ Bleichert (Hartnett) and Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart). They start off in the boxing ring in which we see Bucky KO’d by Lee, but by the next scene the LA Police officers are happily playing partners on the chase for this Black Dahlia, or are they? As I said it is all a bit vague and unrealistic. But what is certain is there is a love triangle that is formed between Bucky, Lee and Lee’s Wife Kay, which is played by none other than Hollywood’s number one on-screen harlot. Yes you guessed it, Scarlett Johansson. I actually like Scarlett Johansson, but I pray she stops going for roles that she is playing an adulteress, the other woman or the forbidden woman. People do say you become what you act out enough. The love triangle could have enabled more substance within the film, but even how that played out was pathetic. The union of Bucky and Kay came immediately after some tragic news.***Spoiler Alert*** You guessed it, Lee was killed and they mourn by having a romping session and setting up home together. All very dramatic and not an inch realistic.

To sum up this was a poor attempt at emulating  Film Noir crime dramas. It lacked the ability of allowing the audience connect and empathise with the main protagonist. Bucky was far from a strong character, which I believe they were trying to show. But there was nothing appealing about his persona at all. It was also not successful at being a intense thriller. The scenes that were supposed to enhance this aspect of the film just left me almost laughing. Throwing a few crows around and pictures that resembled ‘the Batman Joker’ only added to this film becoming a parody of 1940’s crime/thriller drama. Even if I thought I could watch it again and make sense of it, I really wouldn’t have the energy to.

DS RATED: 4.5/10


The Black Dahlia
Production Year: 2006
Countries: USA, Rest of the World
Cert: 15
Runtime: 121 mins
Director: Brian De Palma
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