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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Movie Review: A confused ‘Dahlia’

    Movie Review: A confused Dahlia

    “”The Black Dahlia”” has all of the twists and turns to be an edgy production.

    The soft color of the film, the diversity of characters, the story of a woman killed in a brutal way – it all screams Hollywood classic for a minute, but fails to deliver.

    All of the scenes seem choppy and forced. They also lend themselves to an overall sense of confusion. One could say that this is symbolism for the confusion of the killing of actress Elizabeth Short, but there is no stability on which to form symbolism.

    The killing of Short is the only story that “”The Black Dahlia.”” focuses on. Officer Dwight Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) works at the L.A. Police Department with his partner Sgt. Leland Blancher (Aaron Eckhart) around the time of Short’s death.

    Blancher becomes transfixed on trying to find who killed Short because he is deeply affected by the abuse of women. Although the reason for this is not shown in the movie, the audience finds out that his wife Kay Lake (Scarlett Johansson) was a former prostitute of a notorious pimp in L.A. This further adds to his duty of wanting to protect women.

    Officer Bleichert finally unveils how Short was killed. He has to meet several people to do so, including the sensuous Madeleine Linscott (Hillary Swank).

    The movie, adapted from the book by James Ellroy, made little sense. This might have been in part because of its desire to match the book like a mirror image.

    The casting was weak. Hartnett was not convincing and often dull. Although director Brian De Palma did a good job in showing the audience what Hartnett was seeing by focusing the shots on the people he was interacting with, Hartnett had no character of his own. He needed to be a lot darker in mood and a bit mysterious. It was like watching an Abercrombie model trying to figure out who killed Short.

    “”The Black Dahlia””
    Rated R
    120 min.
    Universal Pictures

    Rating: 5/10

    Swank’s character portrayal was unbearable. She had a thick, old-school, upper-class accent that was campy at its best. And although her character was supposed to be an Elizabeth Short copycat, Swank looked nothing like the actress who portrayed Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner).

    Kirshner was the only actress who had any depth. She didn’t appear in real time like the rest of the characters did. Instead, she was filmed in black and white doing film tests. These scenes were dispersed throughout the film.

    What was admirable about Kirshner and these scenes? Her vulnerability. The scenes stripped her down to expose her soul and were more powerful than the shots of her severed body.

    Scarlett Johansson was just “”eh.”” She wasn’t anything special in the movie. In fact, any other actress could have replaced her with the same or even better results.

    The movie was too long and too rushed in the end. The confusion ran for an hour and a half. The last half-hour of the movie had one event over the other, trying to lead Hartnett to the killer. It was like playing Clue – boring, drawn out and fake.

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