The Black Dahlia

Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 35
  2. Negative: 5 out of 35

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Critic Reviews

  1. 91
    Hartnett and co-star Scarlett Johansson--that most fatale of current filmic femmes--are naturals for this kind of noir-hued material, but the pairing of Ellroy and De Palma proves a marriage made in hardboiled heaven.
  2. There are some virtuoso moments (the discovery of the mutilated corpse is extremely well done and blessedly ungraphic), but overall the result is much less than prime De Palma.
  3. The second half feels heavy and unfulfilled, potential greatness reduced to a good movie plagued with problems.
  4. 70
    Although the action set pieces are impressive, the exposition is sluggish. For all the posh dollies, high angles, and Venetian-blind crisscross patterns, The Black Dahlia rarely achieves the rhapsodic (let alone the delirious).
  5. The film is more than a little in love with the corruption it finds under the floorboards -- and that, of course, is perfectly dandy. I wouldn't trust a film noir that wasn't enthralled by decadence.
  6. 67
    De Palma's direction shines, but noir script doesn't match his gifts.
  7. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    63
    You've got to give the guy (De Palma) some credit. He's made a bizarre, baffling and at times flat-out bad movie. But at least it's rarely boring.
  8. The film's atmosphere is incendiary. It has style to burn. But for the most part, the performances are all wet.
  9. 63
    If this overcooked version of James Ellroy’s novel - inspired by a famous 1947 Los Angeles murder - is less than fully satisfying or even believable storytelling and acting, it’s still possible to get a kick out of this fever dream loaded with eye candy.
User Score
2.7

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 185 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 77
  2. Negative: 58 out of 77
  1. Jun 1, 2016
    8
    The story is a bit too romanced for my taste but the history of the black dahlia is an intriguing one and this movie tries too hard to fill inThe story is a bit too romanced for my taste but the history of the black dahlia is an intriguing one and this movie tries too hard to fill in the blanks.

    Watch it online for free: https://www.primewire.ag/watch-1828-The-Black-Dahlia
    Full Review »
  2. May 27, 2016
    4
    The Black Dahlia is a decidedly mediocre film. Featuring impeccable cinematography and a lush and sexy style, The Black Dahlia is everythingThe Black Dahlia is a decidedly mediocre film. Featuring impeccable cinematography and a lush and sexy style, The Black Dahlia is everything you can want from a neo-noir film set in 1940's Los Angeles from a visual standpoint. Beyond that, however, The Black Dahlia falls apart. Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, and Hilary Swank, all turn in mediocre performances. Aaron Eckhart is okay though. The story makes no sense and is poorly told. The end reveal of what happened throughout is scattershot at best and demonstrates just how little sense the preceding hour and a half made. Honestly, this film makes literally no sense from a plot standpoint and it seems as if Brian De Palma just took pieces of the novel, threw them at the screen, and hoped they would work. If the film was longer, maybe it would make sense. However, it is simply too overstuffed for the two hour runtime. Also featuring De Palma's trademark penchant for violence and sexism, the film is not good enough to justify the violence or the horrendous treatment of women in the film. While I would stop short of calling it an overall bad film due to the great visuals, the plot is meandering, nonsensical, and incoherent. Full Review »
  3. Apr 24, 2011
    8
    As Of Now (4/24/11) I Have No Clue Why The User Score Is So Low.. This Is A Good Movie Overall. Yes I Can Say Some Spots Arent The Best.. ButAs Of Now (4/24/11) I Have No Clue Why The User Score Is So Low.. This Is A Good Movie Overall. Yes I Can Say Some Spots Arent The Best.. But It Is A A+ Effort... Rose McGowan Does A Great Job.. The Acting Was OK... I Loved The Writing/Plot.. Overall 8! Full Review »