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Elizabeth "Betty" Short was discovered brutally splayed in a vacant lot near Leimert Park in downtown Los Angeles. Naked, cut in half at the waist, her organs were removed and blood drained from her small body in an attack so grisly that most images were kept from the public. Her killer had bludgeoned her, sodomized her and slit her mouth from ear to ear in a sickening, clownish grin. Betty's remains one of the most gruesome, unsolved homicides in the City of Angels' history.
Thriller - This is a period murder mystery based on the fact-inspired novel.
The slow pace may turn off some moviegoers as well as the moments
of grisly violence and risque content. Adult moviegoers are the
primary audience target.
PROFANITY: 17 F-words, 3 S-words, 1 GD, a number of others. SEX/NUDITY: Sex with nudity; lesbianism. VIOLENCE: Bloody shootings and kilings. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Alcohol and tobacco. ACTION: Shootouts, fights, chases, boxing. COMEDY: Some dark and raunchy humor.
Roger EbertFull Review Above Average Such a shame that 'The Black Dahlia' collapses into a gruesome pile of steaming camp in the last half hour. Prior to that, De Palma had crafted a jumbling and lurid but relentlessly entertaining adaptation of James Ellroy's sprawling novel,...
USA TodayFull Review Average But as with the particulars of the yet-unsolved case, the movie is frustratingly convoluted. What it accomplishes with its stunning cinematography and set design is undercut by a lack of coherence.
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 134 moviegoers:
TEENS:NOT GOOD! A few of the males enjoyed it but most didn't. Same for the females. Too many low to very low opinions to recommend it.
TWENTYSOMETHINGS:Only a few of the males and females actually enjoyed "The Black Dahlia." Most rated it below average with some opinions even lower. NOT RECOMMENDED!
ADULTS:The males enjoyed it slightly more than the females. The grisly content is likely the reason. A little over a third of the guys truly enjoyed "The Black Dahlia." Most of the remaining opinions are in the average to below average range with a few even lower. That's getting pretty low. To me these opinions just aren't strong enough to recommend you pay full price to see this at the theater. I would strongly recommend a lower priced matinee or wait for the video release. The female opinions are even worse. Just a small percentage actually enjoyed this movie. Most rated it below average or lower. Not a movie I can recommend for the ladies.
Enter onto the scene two ex-pugilist police officers, Lee Blanchard (AARON
ECKHART) and Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert (JOSH HARTNETT), the poster boys for
1940s LAPD. The new partners' first homicide case starts with a call from their
supervisor, Detective Millard (MIKE STARR), to investigate the slaying of the ambitious
silver screen B-lister Betty Short (MIA KIRSHNER), just as they are leaving a deadly
Blanchard and Bleichert, like the rest of the fascinated city, become drawn into
the lurid world of the Dahlia's L.A. While Blanchard's growing preoccupation with the
Dahlia's murder threatens his relationship with girlfriend Kay Lake (SCARLETT
JOHANSSON), Bleichert finds himself irresistibly drawn to the enigmatic Madeleine
Linscott (two-time Oscar® winner HILARY SWANK), the daughter of one of the city's
most prominent families—who just happens to have an unsavory connection (and
resemblance) to the Dahlia.
Blanchard spins into obsession trying to solve the case, seeing in Betty the chance
to redeem himself for letting down the other women in his life that he failed to protect.
Bleichert, too, begins to question his own footing as his feelings fluctuate wildly between
two disparate dames: the seemingly innocent Kay and the knowingly seductive
Madeleine—whose unhinged mother, Ramona (FIONA SHAW), proves to hold more
than a passing clue to the mystery.
Determined to be famous, destined to be infamous, Betty Short affected more
lives dead than she possibly could alive. She dreamed of being photographed for the big
screen but wound up the pin-up girl of tabloid autopsy photos.