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The Black Dahlia – Film Review

Black Dahlia DVD

“The Black Dahlia” is film director Brian De Palma’s interpretation of James Ellroy’s book of the same name. The story is partly based on the facts of the case – Elizabeth Short’s horrific murder in one of the seedier sections of LA in 1947. The resolution is from Ellroy’s imagination. Ellroy was partially inspired and motivated to tell Elizabeth Short’s story because of the murder of his own mother when he was a boy … Ellroy’s “My Dark Places” is a non-fictional account for his search for her murderer(s). I’ve read this and it’s riveting with a hard-boiled novelist kind of approach.

Back to the movie… despite being generally panned by the critics and in imdb user reviews, I found the film watchable and interesting. The principals are all solid and believable. The problem here is De Palma’s rather flat, detached, and sepia-toned visuals. Also… one goes to see a De Palma movie expecting some ridiculously stylish and over-the-top visuals & plot elements (see “Dressed to Kill”, “Scarface”, “Body Double”)… but the approach here is rather plodding, staid, and as I said, detached.

I grade the movie B for achieving basic competence and holding my attention for 2 hours.

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February 7, 2008 - Posted by | Film |

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