The Black Dahlia (2006)

2007 #94
Brian De Palma | 116 mins | DVD | 15 / R

The Black DahliaNoir-wannabe, adapted from the James Ellroy novel based on a real, unsolved case. That case is far from the focus here: from the start the apparently-central crime is anything but, meaning the biggest let-down is that events barely follow the eponymous story.

It’s one of many problems in a film that tries hard to be a proper noir but fails in almost every respect: performances (most of which wind up flat), corny dialogue, plot, pretty-but-vacant direction, and even voice-over narration. I haven’t read the novel, but apparently it’s a poor adaptation too. What you want is a ’40s-style thriller; what you get is a weak ’40s-set character drama.

2 out of 5

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