User Score
2.8

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 168 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 168
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  1. 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.. But It Is A A+ Effort... Rose McGowan Does A Great Job.. The Acting Was OK... I Loved The Writing/Plot.. Overall 8!
  2. TimR.
    Jul 7, 2007
    9
    I seemed to be the only person giving this a good review. I loved this film for the vintage noir feel it had to it and i thought it to be well acted and engaging. However i thought the ending left something to be desired and ultimately lacked the strength the rest of the movie had. In any case i enjoyed it.
  3. JamesA.
    Jul 5, 2007
    0
    This movie would be worse than our Home Video. Dont waste time!!
  4. redlight
    Jun 5, 2007
    5
    the following is from empire's review of the film, which i agree with: "De Palma is interested not a jot in the feelings of his characters, and thus the denouement which, in a way appropriate for noir, verges on the loopy, is frigid and unsatisfying. It
  5. GrahamM.
    May 24, 2007
    4
    The only good thing to say about this film is its certain type of atmosphere and that it is not as bad as a striaght to video movie. Worth a rental if one is interested.
  6. DaveJ.
    Mar 4, 2007
    3
    The plot was a good idea but the production left the plot go astray. It got boring after a while and the only reason I finished it was to see who the killer was. Could have been done a great deal better than it was.
  7. BManA.
    Feb 26, 2007
    1
    The only reason why I gave this movie a 1 is because it made me laugh so hard because I couldn't follow the movie worth sh.t and thought the acting was something from like a pre-school play. So laugh your ass off while you watch this "great" movie about bullsh.t. (yeah right)
  8. Helen
    Feb 13, 2007
    1
    The most non-sensical, badly acted movie I have seen in ages. Josh Hartnett is so badly cast in this. Crazy, nothing makes sense, convenient stories to help stitch the rambling story line together. SKIP IT!
  9. VS.D.
    Feb 11, 2007
    0
    So awful I couldn't even make it thru it. I'm a fan of the book and when I heard David Fincher was directing, I was delighted. Then I heard he dropped out and De Palma was taking over. Then I wept. De Palma is such a dreadful director--no subtlety, no understanding of telling the story with the cut, no understanding of plot and story. I couldn't think of a worse director So awful I couldn't even make it thru it. I'm a fan of the book and when I heard David Fincher was directing, I was delighted. Then I heard he dropped out and De Palma was taking over. Then I wept. De Palma is such a dreadful director--no subtlety, no understanding of telling the story with the cut, no understanding of plot and story. I couldn't think of a worse director for this material (though Joel Schumacher would be a close second). Dreadful, dreadful stuff. Expand
  10. GeorgeL.
    Feb 9, 2007
    8
    If you love 40's americana , you will love this movie. Not for everyone.
  11. ElliotP.
    Feb 4, 2007
    2
    When you get the feeling 1/2 way through this movie that cleaning your bathroom would be more fun than this film - trust your instinct. I wish I had.
  12. MartinL.
    Jan 25, 2007
    3
    I agree...awful movie--but I gave it a "3" because I only saw the first hour, I couldn't take anymore...boring, stupid plot, confusing, just very disappointing
  13. CharlieN.
    Jan 24, 2007
    9
    Incredibly underrated. I loved so much about this movie, it's great to look at, it's interesting, and the atmosphere is top notch. The ending is a little confusing, but other than that I loved it!
  14. AndyS.
    Jan 18, 2007
    2
    Just horrible. Boring, bad acting, bad plot; nothing good to say about this movie.
  15. WiliamC.
    Jan 17, 2007
    5
    The Book is great. The movie busy.
  16. Lola
    Jan 11, 2007
    0
    This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen! It could have been really good, but the storyline was just completely off, disjointed, and hard to really follow. The movie wasn't even really about that girl's death at all, it was about the two cops. What a waste of time.
  17. GuyS
    Jan 4, 2007
    1
    I can't think of a movie that bored me more than this. Although I haven't yet read the book by the occasionally excellent James Ellroy -- and after seeing this bowl of tripe, it's doubtful I will -- I expected that the movie would at least hit some of the author's signature noir notes. This was a caricature of the genre, with cardboard characters and an unfocused, I can't think of a movie that bored me more than this. Although I haven't yet read the book by the occasionally excellent James Ellroy -- and after seeing this bowl of tripe, it's doubtful I will -- I expected that the movie would at least hit some of the author's signature noir notes. This was a caricature of the genre, with cardboard characters and an unfocused, meandering script. If the flick bears even a slight resemblance to the book, Ellroy should give back his advance. Expand
  18. MarkJ.
    Jan 2, 2007
    1
    The Black Dahlia is frought by weakly written characters, who seem to switch roles throughout the film almost as often as the seemingly confused plot. The film switches from comic book cinematography to thriller to comedy within the space of an hour all attempting to justify the limited array of characters who occupy each space. By the end I just didn't care, its pointless, its The Black Dahlia is frought by weakly written characters, who seem to switch roles throughout the film almost as often as the seemingly confused plot. The film switches from comic book cinematography to thriller to comedy within the space of an hour all attempting to justify the limited array of characters who occupy each space. By the end I just didn't care, its pointless, its boring, its a really disappointing film. Expand
  19. ChaChaJ
    Dec 31, 2006
    1
    This is the first film I have ever watched which had me caring less for it with each passing minute. After the first five minutes I just stopped caring. I didn't argue the lack of logic. I didn't judge the bad casting. I didn't scoff at the horrible dialogue and the cardboard acting. I merely accepted it. So Zen of me, eh? I must admit when Fiona Shaw came on screen and This is the first film I have ever watched which had me caring less for it with each passing minute. After the first five minutes I just stopped caring. I didn't argue the lack of logic. I didn't judge the bad casting. I didn't scoff at the horrible dialogue and the cardboard acting. I merely accepted it. So Zen of me, eh? I must admit when Fiona Shaw came on screen and twisted all logic with her incredibly perverted performance, brilliant only in its welcome distraction, I had a twinge of being entertained but for a purely camp reason. With this film Brian DePalma has become less a director and more a cruise ship activity director. And that cruise ship is sinking. Expand
  20. EricH.
    Dec 28, 2006
    2
    Convoluted without being interesting or complex. Not even Johansson can save this one. By the end you'll be saying, "So?" and "Who cares?"
  21. RicardoSB
    Dec 26, 2006
    1
    All style, no substance. All flash, no depth. Terrible overacting amongst a largely miscast set of actors. A script that reads like a Reader's Digest sloppy condensed version of Ellroy's masterful book. This is truly a horrible, unwatchable movie.
  22. MarkB.
    Nov 13, 2006
    2
    The long, slow, sad descent of Brian De Palma continues unabated. He's got everything going for him here: interesting cast (with one exception, but we'll cover that later); the fascinating subject of an unsolved case covered in great detail (obsessively, some might say) by James Ellroy, considered by many to be THE great crime novelist of our time; admittedly first-rate art The long, slow, sad descent of Brian De Palma continues unabated. He's got everything going for him here: interesting cast (with one exception, but we'll cover that later); the fascinating subject of an unsolved case covered in great detail (obsessively, some might say) by James Ellroy, considered by many to be THE great crime novelist of our time; admittedly first-rate art direction and period design...and still De Palma turns out yet another late career disaster of Bonfire of the Vanities/ Mission to Mars/ Femme Fatale proportions. Could it be that the once-great director of such can't-miss entertainments as Phantom of the Paradise, Obsession, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Scarface, The Untouchables and Carlito's Way, always acclaimed as a master stylist and proud of himself for it, has totally succumbed to hubris and in doing so completely forgotten that his previous films worked because he got his audience to genuinely care about Carrie White, Eliot Ness, the Phantom and even Tony Montana? I mean, The Untouchables could've lost the Armani wardrobes altogether and nobody would've missed them much because the storytelling was so incredibly solid. Admittedly it takes a filmgoer of incredible naivete to NOT realize that voyeurism and fascination with same comprise a major element of all of De Palma's work (just as it did with his idol Alfred Hitchcock) but here De Palma has turned the unsolved Elizabeth Short murder case--an incident teeming with human interest, tragedy and pathos--into a shallow, sick and frankly disgusting freak show. (A central character's mid-film demise, which should've been moving as well as shocking, is instead only a borderline-hilarious distraction because of the ridiculous amount of gore De Palma insists on heaping on.) Performances are almost straight down the line uniformly lousy, but what would you expect with the mannequin-like Josh Hartnett in the lead? As a conflicted cop and the film's narrator, Hartnett's two-trick repertoire of facial expressions shifts from his typically blank stare to a strange grimace that's supposed to suggest compassion and/or moral indignation but instead just looks like Hartnett needs to add a lot more bran to his diet, and I always thought that if FRED MACMURRAY of all people could narrate a film noir and pull it off, anyone could...but I've now been sadly and officially proven wrong. Worst of all, Hartnett manages to pull his normally very capable costars, Aaron Eckhart and Scarlett Johannsen, down to his own level of three-flights-below-mediocrity, with only Hilary Swank, who triumphs over a silly Irish accent that's forced on her to give a wonderfully sultry, devious portrayal that's undoubtedly causing Chad Lowe to strike himself with hard, blunt objects at rapidly accelerating speed and force, emerging as a survivor. And there's simply no plausible excuse for what De Palma does to the great character actress Fiona Shaw; her normally wonderful work recognizes the implicit humanity and sympathy implicit in ALL her roles (the virginal dupe in Triumph of Love and even her subtle portrayal of the trapped-in-suburbia Mrs. Dursley in the Harry Potter movies are two superb examples) but here, as a key witness/ suspect, she's so overwrought, grotesque and ridiculous that it's acutely painful to watch her. Ditto for the rest of De Palma's film: ironically, his best casting (Swank included) is of HIMSELF as the disembodied voice of the cruel, mean-spirited director of the tawdry smokers Elizabeth's auditioning for, a creep who cares nothing about his subject except how to exploit her in the crassest way possible. Given the content and approach of De Palma's recent thrillers, and The Black Dahlia in particular, this stands as one of the most apt pieces of typecasting since Jackie Robinson played Jackie Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story. Expand
  23. MovieMan
    Nov 10, 2006
    0
    This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It looks like a 10 year old put it together, hoping to get it shown on his local cable access channel. To call it bad is an injustice to the word - it would have to improve ten-fold in order to qualify for a bad rating. The story in nonexistent, the acting is bad and the production values are terrible. Your time would be better spent This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It looks like a 10 year old put it together, hoping to get it shown on his local cable access channel. To call it bad is an injustice to the word - it would have to improve ten-fold in order to qualify for a bad rating. The story in nonexistent, the acting is bad and the production values are terrible. Your time would be better spent re-arranging the wires behind your television. Expand
  24. GerrickC
    Oct 25, 2006
    3
    Didn't I hear someone say that this movie is from the director of Scarface? That's BS and anyone who sees this movie will know it.
  25. Shootsy
    Oct 21, 2006
    0
    ...all of a sudden "Mission to Mars" becomes a masterpiece!
  26. BrunoP.
    Oct 16, 2006
    4
    Boring.
  27. ES
    Oct 15, 2006
    10
    A brave bit of storytelling, brazenly un-PC, my favorite of the recent rash of pulp movies. Also lovely to see real cinematic ability on display here -- even Scorsese's latest movie is obviously a product of the MTV generation, while this movie could have been made during the Golden Age of cinema. Standouts are Aaron Eckhart, whose '40s throwback performance layered with A brave bit of storytelling, brazenly un-PC, my favorite of the recent rash of pulp movies. Also lovely to see real cinematic ability on display here -- even Scorsese's latest movie is obviously a product of the MTV generation, while this movie could have been made during the Golden Age of cinema. Standouts are Aaron Eckhart, whose '40s throwback performance layered with '90s indie naturalism stole the show, and William Finley's small but very important role was a pleasant surprise. It was a real pleasure to see the Phantom of the Paradise himself onscreen again. I'll agree with most that Hartnett and Johansson very nearly ruined this film's chances, but the movie is too solid overall to be discounted. See it in a theater for the full effect! Expand
  28. Mike
    Oct 13, 2006
    3
    Just not a good movie.
  29. Robertxxxx
    Oct 9, 2006
    2
    The Big Sleep meets Chinatown meets Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  30. JenniferH.
    Oct 8, 2006
    1
    Overwrought, overworked, plain stupid dialogue, flat main character (young Tommy Lee Jones look alike, but little depth of intelligence here to add any interest), ridiculously convoluted story line predictable psycho-sexual elements. The writing is SO bad that you end up wanting to laugh where it seems the makers expect you to be horrified and engaged. Best actor in the film without Overwrought, overworked, plain stupid dialogue, flat main character (young Tommy Lee Jones look alike, but little depth of intelligence here to add any interest), ridiculously convoluted story line predictable psycho-sexual elements. The writing is SO bad that you end up wanting to laugh where it seems the makers expect you to be horrified and engaged. Best actor in the film without reservation, Mia Kirshner, who effectively plays the troubled sad subject of the murder story Ms. Betty Short. Expand
  31. ElisaP.
    Oct 4, 2006
    1
    [***SPOILERS***] I was relieved to find out that I wasn't and imbecile when my question â?
  32. ChadShiira
    Oct 2, 2006
    6
    If the performances by Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett actually reflected their pugulist monikers of "Fire" and "Ice" (they're both more like Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap; lukewarm water), "The Black Dahlia" would've not only eluded the k.o., but also the standing eight count as well. It's the performance by Hilary Swank that helps this "Chinatown"-wanna-be off the mat. As If the performances by Aaron Eckhart and Josh Hartnett actually reflected their pugulist monikers of "Fire" and "Ice" (they're both more like Derek Smalls of Spinal Tap; lukewarm water), "The Black Dahlia" would've not only eluded the k.o., but also the standing eight count as well. It's the performance by Hilary Swank that helps this "Chinatown"-wanna-be off the mat. As the one nicknamed "Fire", we're not aware that Eckhart's character is haunted by Elizabeth Short's murder until Kay (Scarlett Johansson), his wife, tells us. Since Johansson is already made up to look like Kim Novak in "Vertigo", how about a Hitchcockian night of restless sleep for Lee, ala Jimmy Stewart. That hypothetical evocation of film referencing blatancy couldn't be worse than the crazy, crazy, crazy "Sunset Boulevard" homage this usually sure-footed filmmaker concocts late in the film. "The Black Dahlia" gets off to a disastrous start because it pussyfoots around. As the love triangle coalesces, some of us are thinking: Cut to the chase and give us the dead body. Expand
  33. MarciaL.
    Sep 26, 2006
    1
    This is one of the most disgusting movies I have ever seen. It is hard to explain how it could be shocking, boring and worthless, all at the same time. First of all, the film's title is simply an exploitation of a young woman's brutal murder. The film makes no attempt at all to provide a true solution to the crime. It is total fiction, attempting to making money at the expense This is one of the most disgusting movies I have ever seen. It is hard to explain how it could be shocking, boring and worthless, all at the same time. First of all, the film's title is simply an exploitation of a young woman's brutal murder. The film makes no attempt at all to provide a true solution to the crime. It is total fiction, attempting to making money at the expense of a poor dead girl's memory. Second, the pornographic lesbian scenes were ugly - especially the use of the "toy" - and horrifying rather than titillating. Third - will Scarlett Johannsen ever find work again? She seemed to be struggling to portray a retarded sex kitten who had some type of neurological disorder that made her jerk awkwardly when she walked, and made her jaw hang open most of the time. Don't go see it. Don't even rent it. But if you do, remember that I warned you !!! Expand
  34. AlisonK.
    Sep 26, 2006
    0
    Need I say more.
  35. Bobbie
    Sep 26, 2006
    0
    Possibly the worst adaption of a book ever. They took a great book and turned it into trash. Avoid.
  36. GeorgeP.
    Sep 25, 2006
    2
    A mixed up messy picture. Hard to follow.
  37. KingChad
    Sep 25, 2006
    0
    One of the worst made movies of all time.
  38. GrahamS.
    Sep 24, 2006
    0
    I wanted to like this film, I enjoy Noir, I like many of the actors...but this is by far the worst film I have seen this year...or maybe any year. The only real crime of interest is this overlong -convoluted mess is how to waste this much talent. I think DePalma has made equally bad and derivative films before. The likely comparisons are sure to be Chinatown, and LA Confidential. Robert I wanted to like this film, I enjoy Noir, I like many of the actors...but this is by far the worst film I have seen this year...or maybe any year. The only real crime of interest is this overlong -convoluted mess is how to waste this much talent. I think DePalma has made equally bad and derivative films before. The likely comparisons are sure to be Chinatown, and LA Confidential. Robert Townes' script Polanski, and Nicholson are largely untouchable in my eyes. Curtis Hanson's LA confidential - was spellbinding- this film is something entirely different. When you see an old photo faded with years, most people look for something of interest. With no real connection to the scandal and a difficult script this is the equivalent of a dull photo of 40's wallpaper. How bad must a film be when the highlights are the barn door and the kitchen table- Avoid this mess!!! I am trying to think what I have seen that is worse- A least SHOWGIRLS was so bad it was laughable, DePalma has taken us to new depths. Expand
  39. MarcosF.
    Sep 23, 2006
    0
    The worst movie of the year!!! Josh Hartnett was awful and Johansson, well, she manage to make Hilary Swank a hottie next to her!
  40. ChaimW.
    Sep 23, 2006
    1
    This movie confused me!!The plot kept skipping around without any coclusion.I left after 45 minutes.It gave me a headache.
  41. JoseA.
    Sep 21, 2006
    2
    How could one of the most sensational murders in Los Angeles history be such a boring, unispired move? Too much time is spent on the "Fire & Ice" love triangle.
  42. StephenyeA.
    Sep 21, 2006
    0
    Wow! Really bad! Probably the worst I've ever seen.
  43. JanWinn
    Sep 21, 2006
    5
    Brian Palma get a grip!
  44. Tammmie
    Sep 20, 2006
    0
    Just a terrible movie in every way. I hated it.
  45. CarlaK.
    Sep 19, 2006
    5
    For me, this didn't inspire any kind of outrage, it was just more of a dull flatness. HIgh on style but not at all convincing. It felt a bit tedious as the thrill and suspense were lost in all the confusion in the plot.
  46. MichaelL.
    Sep 18, 2006
    1
    Pure, unadulterated crap. Too many disperate elements, too much extraneous material that has nothing to do with the matters at hand. A lush, overproduced excuse for DePalma to indulge in his usual bra and panties peep-show antics. Can this man make a film without black lace and garters? The Black Dahlia case is interesting enough without the clap-trap fictionalization added in this Pure, unadulterated crap. Too many disperate elements, too much extraneous material that has nothing to do with the matters at hand. A lush, overproduced excuse for DePalma to indulge in his usual bra and panties peep-show antics. Can this man make a film without black lace and garters? The Black Dahlia case is interesting enough without the clap-trap fictionalization added in this confused, muddled mess. And that ending! WHAT? Props to Fiona Shaw for the only watchable scene in the film. Johansen and Hartnett are good enough, and Swank is...well...swanky. You want to see a clever, campy, muder and mayhem film set in old Hollywood? Rent 1971s "What's The Matter With Helen?" That wacky tale, at least, makes sense. Expand
  47. ClintM.
    Sep 18, 2006
    3
    I really felt let down completely by this one. and it's not b/c it makes you think and asks you to weave the story together ... it's that the threads it tried to weave were woven on totally different blankets!!!! the writers/editors/director ... whoever ... couldn't put a compelling, logical, intriguing, twisty story together! instead of the movie unfolding its mysteries I really felt let down completely by this one. and it's not b/c it makes you think and asks you to weave the story together ... it's that the threads it tried to weave were woven on totally different blankets!!!! the writers/editors/director ... whoever ... couldn't put a compelling, logical, intriguing, twisty story together! instead of the movie unfolding its mysteries ... they fall apart, completely. and Josh Hartnett officially joins Paul Walker as one of the worst actors out right now. sorry. Expand
  48. TravisK
    Sep 18, 2006
    8
    I don't understand how this film can inspire this much dislike. There are a lot of threads to keep track of, but is that such a bad thing? Is it so awful that a movie makes you think once and a while? I really enjoyed the movie - Josh Hartnett proves he can act and Scarlett Johansson is great. The only bad performance is from Swank. If you don't want to think about a movie you I don't understand how this film can inspire this much dislike. There are a lot of threads to keep track of, but is that such a bad thing? Is it so awful that a movie makes you think once and a while? I really enjoyed the movie - Josh Hartnett proves he can act and Scarlett Johansson is great. The only bad performance is from Swank. If you don't want to think about a movie you won't like this one otherwise check it out and you may be surprised like I was. Expand
  49. ShellyM.
    Sep 18, 2006
    3
    I know this was supposed to be set in a sort of "old Hollywood", but it came across as sort of cheesey. I found my self laughing (along with the rest of the people in the theatre) at scenes that were not supposed to be funny...
  50. ScottS.
    Sep 18, 2006
    1
    The most god awful movie and fictionalization of history since "Pearl Harbor," another movie starring Josh Hartnett. To those viewers interested in this case, stick to the book or one of the documentaries. To Brian de Palma and the scriptwriters, just punishment would be banishment from the movie business for at least two years. Since that won't happen, ridicule will just have to do.
  51. AlainM.
    Sep 18, 2006
    2
    How poor this movie is is obvious from all the reviews but I think it is unfair that the actors seem to be copping most of the blame (certainly no-one comes close to giving a career defining performance here) but none of the actors performances are anywhere near as terrible as that of de Palma himself. I can only hope that this may finally convince people that de Palma is one of the most How poor this movie is is obvious from all the reviews but I think it is unfair that the actors seem to be copping most of the blame (certainly no-one comes close to giving a career defining performance here) but none of the actors performances are anywhere near as terrible as that of de Palma himself. I can only hope that this may finally convince people that de Palma is one of the most over-rated, inane, and clumsy directors of the past few decades. Here's a thunderbolt - none of his films are that good! Where they are its down to exceptional performances of the actors. Here, unfortunately, no-one saves de Palma's skin. After LA Confidential this was a fantasic opportunity to continue setting all Ellroy's LA Quartet to film. It's a wasted one now. One final criticism I haven't seen elsewhere - this film has some of the worst and most inappropriate incidental music I have ever heard. Often it is completely at odds with the tempo on screen and in one scene is so loud it almost drowns out the dialogue. This is an unprofessional, haphazard, shambles of a film. Expand
  52. AndrewS.
    Sep 18, 2006
    1
    A joke! Scarlette and Josh are two of thw absolute WORST actors in Hollywood!
  53. PatK.
    Sep 18, 2006
    0
    Started out thinking this movie was taking me some place....but somewhere in the middle, I realized I was totally wrong. Horrible, corny, ending.
  54. RackT.
    Sep 17, 2006
    0
    [***SPOILERS***] 0/5 stars. Yup. ZERO. if a movie is bad, then fine, but this movie was a complete fraud. I was so pissed after seeing this movie. It is not worth a rental. It is not worth an HBO viewing. I want to start a petition to force them to give everyone back their money. It is like false advertising. I wanted to walk out 45 mintues but didn't. She wouldn't walk out[***SPOILERS***] 0/5 stars. Yup. ZERO. if a movie is bad, then fine, but this movie was a complete fraud. I was so pissed after seeing this movie. It is not worth a rental. It is not worth an HBO viewing. I want to start a petition to force them to give everyone back their money. It is like false advertising. I wanted to walk out 45 mintues but didn't. She wouldn't walk out because it was almost over. I wish I would have gone outside and down manual labor for 2 hours. I have never seen so many people walk out of a movie before. I would guess 14 at least. Ok. This movie is supposed to be based on a true event that is the murder of Elizabeth Short. But guess what. This movie wasn't even about that! Yup. You heard me right. I felt like I was in the wrong movie for th efirst 35 minutes. It took 35 minutes for the movie to even acknowledge the name of that chick and anotehr 10 mintues for the murder to occur. So what was the movie about? Well, it was about the story of 2 fictional cops and their relationship!!! Yup. You heard me right. The only thing close to protraying the actual events of what we know happened that night was the following: 1) Elizabeth Short was murdered 2) Her body was cut in half 3) her face sliced from ear to ear. That was it. That was the entire non-fiction part of the movie. The rest of the movie was a Hollywood make believe story. You never saw Elizabeth Short. You never learned what happened on the night of the murder. All the movie showed was her just showing up dead in a field. No background. No history. No nothing. The entire plot of the movie was about these 2 damn cops. After that at the end they pieced together a make believe outcome to Short's death and it ended. Listen. I watched a 60 minute piece on The Black Dahlia on A&E and I know more of what about actually happened then what the director/writer/producer (whoever) even tried to explain. It would have been one thing if things in this movie were just far fetched, but they are impossible and couldn't be further from what is know about the event. Acccording to all websites and the A&E special the murderer was most likely a doctor or someone in the medical field. In the movie, it was nowhere even close to that (I want to give it away but won't). Seeing this movie was like going to a movie thinking it is about football only to be watching a tap dance tournament. I was so fucking pissed off. I want my money and my time back. 0/5 stars. ZERO. Expand
  55. PaulJ.
    Sep 17, 2006
    3
    Not horrible, but not great (or even good). Low point: Lack of Plot and completely fictitious solving of the crime. High point: cinematography.
  56. JoshB.
    Sep 17, 2006
    0
    Completely uninspired butchering (heh) of a pretty great book. Captured none of the spirit, none of the noir of ellroy's novel. Watching Johannson/Hartnet on screen together looked like a biopic about the would-be romance of Keanu Reeves's Grandfather and a bag of sand. Awful. A complete waste of time and money, for everyone involved.
  57. GabeW.
    Sep 17, 2006
    1
    A sadly confused noir that needs to provide a scorecard so that a viewer can attempt to figure it out. Aside from a few memorable scenes the film is boring which is extremely sad since de Palma has been often a truly innovative and exciting Diorector. But this one is as stiff as the corpse itself.
  58. EllieJ.
    Sep 17, 2006
    0
    A terrible film. The dialogues were convoluted and hard to understand. The characters weren't well established and the story just isn't believable. "The Black Dahlia" was a waste time.
  59. TerryG.
    Sep 16, 2006
    0
    If you're interested in the Black Dahlia murder case I suggest you wait until another movie does it justice because this one is not about Elizabeth Short, it's not about why she was murdered and it offers a ridiculous fantasy as to the identity of the killer(s). Not only that but the acting is amateurish and unconvincing, the soundtrack is annoying and out of place, the If you're interested in the Black Dahlia murder case I suggest you wait until another movie does it justice because this one is not about Elizabeth Short, it's not about why she was murdered and it offers a ridiculous fantasy as to the identity of the killer(s). Not only that but the acting is amateurish and unconvincing, the soundtrack is annoying and out of place, the direction is muddled and confusing, the dialogue is just plain silly and unmemorable, the sense of place - LA in the forties - is no where to be found and facts regarding the murder case are incorrect. I have no idea what this movie is about other than a few sexual fantasies of Brian de Palma and James Ellroy. Every aspect of this film is glaringly bad. Hopefully, someone else will tackle this subject with an eye toward authenticity, good characters and, if it isn't too much to ask, a good story. In the meantime, read the facts about the Black Dahlia murder and then use your imagination to make your own movie. But imagine it in Los Angeles, not Bugaria where this movie was filmed. Expand
  60. HelenF.
    Sep 16, 2006
    2
    Overloaded with dialogue, confusing subplots, and disappointing acting from actors who are otherwise first rate. The audience laughed at the movie all the way through...almost seemed like a spoof.
  61. NicoleB.
    Sep 16, 2006
    2
    The title of this movie is deceiving at most. I am still perplexed how the "story" of this movie and Elizabeth Short actually do fit together. The writing was below average and the ending really left me feeling stupid, mostly because I sat through this for 2 hours. This movie does not offer a real insight into the Elizabeth Short story and to tell the truth sheds a very poor light of her The title of this movie is deceiving at most. I am still perplexed how the "story" of this movie and Elizabeth Short actually do fit together. The writing was below average and the ending really left me feeling stupid, mostly because I sat through this for 2 hours. This movie does not offer a real insight into the Elizabeth Short story and to tell the truth sheds a very poor light of her character, I can understand why her family was upset about this book and movie. In short, don't waste your money if you have interest in the actual case, see if you like a predictable story that is disjointed with twists and turns that will make you think does this studio actually think I am this stupid. Expand
  62. Jay
    Sep 16, 2006
    10
    Crude, hilarious and thrilling! Do not listen to the bad reviews. This is one of the loopiest movies I've seen in ages - and the ending will make your eyes pop out. Go!
  63. Bobbi
    Sep 16, 2006
    5
    I like weird twists and turns and I never read the novel, so the the plot twist was good. However, the movie was poorly scripted and the scenes did not make sense or blend well together.
  64. RalphieBoy
    Sep 16, 2006
    0
    Let me sum it up for you...zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
  65. DaveK.
    Sep 16, 2006
    0
    STATS ON MOVIE: # of people in the theatre on opening day - 45 # of people who left within 45 minutes - 11 # of people snoring next to me - 2 # of people who boo'd it when the credits came - 15 This was an awful movie, each scene is just disjointed and connects with the movie in no way at all. Casted horribly too, Hillary swanks character was pointless, Eckhart was pitiful, and so STATS ON MOVIE: # of people in the theatre on opening day - 45 # of people who left within 45 minutes - 11 # of people snoring next to me - 2 # of people who boo'd it when the credits came - 15 This was an awful movie, each scene is just disjointed and connects with the movie in no way at all. Casted horribly too, Hillary swanks character was pointless, Eckhart was pitiful, and so was Hartnett. Do not waste your weekend time! Expand
  66. FrankP.
    Sep 16, 2006
    2
    Bad. Good for some campy laughs but the direction is a mess. Like high school acting class. And the story is incoherent. The actors try their best but it's clear DePalma was asleep at the wheel.
  67. TheHansonBrothers
    Sep 15, 2006
    0
    Unbelievably awful, what in the world happened here. Can't believe this score is above 20.
  68. IanB.
    Sep 15, 2006
    2
    Exceptional set design and lighting are lost in a generic film noir whose almost incidental ties to the Elizabeth Short story serve mainly as props for scenes of sex and violence. The writing reeks ('nuff said). Mia Kirshner and Scarlett Johansson glimmer in their roles, Josh Hartnett, well, tries his cardboard best, but Hilary Swank, John Kavanagh and Fiona Shaw vie for the real Exceptional set design and lighting are lost in a generic film noir whose almost incidental ties to the Elizabeth Short story serve mainly as props for scenes of sex and violence. The writing reeks ('nuff said). Mia Kirshner and Scarlett Johansson glimmer in their roles, Josh Hartnett, well, tries his cardboard best, but Hilary Swank, John Kavanagh and Fiona Shaw vie for the real acting raspberries as a (way) dysfunctional family with the worst accents since Inspector Clouseau. If you really like boxing or feel deep in your heart that Elizabeth Short deserved every blow and cut she got, you may like this film, but if you prefer real film noir, see 'Hollywoodland'. Expand
  69. SSshanks
    Sep 15, 2006
    2
    Ugh. A bunch of disjointed scenes that never really add up to anything. Nice looking though.
  70. BillyS.
    Sep 15, 2006
    7
    One thing is certain from the very beginning of The Black Dahlia- you're watching a Brian DePalma film. It's all here, the long sweeping tracking shots, the artsy angles, the buiding cresendo of the score, and a very intriguing story that slowly is revealed after about 25 unnessasary tangents and detours. The acting is pretty much standard considering everybody seems to have One thing is certain from the very beginning of The Black Dahlia- you're watching a Brian DePalma film. It's all here, the long sweeping tracking shots, the artsy angles, the buiding cresendo of the score, and a very intriguing story that slowly is revealed after about 25 unnessasary tangents and detours. The acting is pretty much standard considering everybody seems to have split personalities and who you see isn't really who you see. There is just to much to take in and the film goes all over the place getting there, but getting there with Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography and Dante Ferretti's production design make all those little sidetracks all the more enjoyable and worth the price of a ticket. Expand
  71. MikeH.
    Sep 15, 2006
    1
    What a pathetic mess of a film. What a waste of talent, and of an interesting murder case. A total waster of time!
  72. Richard
    Sep 15, 2006
    0
    This movie goes nowhere. Overrated for what it is. Not worthy of your time or hard earned money. Avoid at all costs.
  73. MichelleC.
    Sep 15, 2006
    3
    Most of the acting is quality but the story is BORING!!! This drags on for 2+ hours and is so confusing you may need to take notes as you go. Hartnett is so dull you'll beg for the end to come. Not for the faint at heart, this has some very graphic sexual content!!!
  74. Sonicdude
    Sep 14, 2006
    0
    This film begins a new fall proving that movies have only become wore over time. It shows us nothing to be proud of. Bad acting, bad direction, and particularly bad writing lead the way in this trash bomb film. All you can think about is how bad the movie is and your movie going experience is ruined.
  75. JoeC.
    Sep 14, 2006
    8
    Not one of De Palma's best movies but still graphically entertaining.
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
  1. The second half feels heavy and unfulfilled, potential greatness reduced to a good movie plagued with problems.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    "Chinatown" it ain't, not in any department. On its own level, however, new pic generates a reasonable degree of intrigue.
  3. 40
    The picture is a kind of fattened goose that's been stuffed with goose-liver pâté. It's overrich and fundamentally unsatisfying.