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Drama - Police, Uncategorized

The Black Dahlia (2006)

Duration2h 1m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Sweden: 15 
Source of storyA real event fictionalised in a novel by James Elroy
DirectorBrian De Palma
Writers/ScriptJosh Friedman
StarringJosh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Mia Kirshner, Fiona Shaw, John Kavanagh, Rose McGowan, Ian McNeice, 
RatingsIMDb: 5.6 by 71,852 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 32% by 195 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard are detectives working in the LAPD, and are partnered after a charity boxing match in which they have taken part. Lee has a girlfriend Kay Lake, and the three become inseparable. They are given the job of investigating the macabre murder of Elizabeth Short, known and the Black Dahlia, due to her enthusiasm for black clothing. As events progress Lee and Bucky begin to investigate the crime separately, Lee’s obsession destroying his relationship with Kay. Bucky is seduced by Madeleine Linscott, a woman also favouring black clothing, whose family in some way seem to be involved in the murder. When Lee is killed things begin to come together for Bucky.

Content: There is quite a bit of implied sex, usually we see the participants before or after, this except for the porno film, watched by Bucky which portrays semi-naked young women. There is a lot of drinking and at dinner Madeleine’s mother is seen to be out of her tree. The body of Elizabeth is glimpsed at times and is seen at the end. We see the trio of friends going to events and dining in, and it seems inevitable that Kay and Bucky will get to it eventually. A lot of time in the police station as well, and the whole film presented in a sort of sepia tone. 

A View: The critics did not like this much and the general public even less, and it did not recover its development costs. Most complaints were about the complexity of the plot; to be honest I have found that James Elroy is difficult to follow on the printed page, so the portrayal on screen did not surprise me, although the author did not like the final version. I did not understand some of the things that happened, but I was not alone. So there we are, you could watch bits of it, just for the atmosphere but other than that, give it a miss.

Additional Info: Not everyone approved of the use of this famous murder. Elizabeth Short’s body was found on a vacant lot in LA in January 1947, the murderer has never been identified.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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