The Black Dahlia: All Plot, No Murder

f there was one movie I was excited to see this year, it was “The Black Dahlia.” I happened to stumble upon the trailer this summer and couldn’t wait for it to come to theaters. When I went to see it this past weekend, I was itching with anticipation. It’s too bad I spent the first hour of this movie wondering what in the world was going on.

“The Black Dahlia” starring Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart, Mia Kirshner and Hilary Swank, is taken from the novel of the same name written by James Ellroy who’s other novel “L.A. Confidential” was a huge hit in 1997. While I had great hopes for this movie, it basically turned out to be a mishmash of different plot lines and characters which only confused the audience. Superficially “The Black Dahlia” revolves around the brutal and grisly murder of Elizabeth Short, a Hollywood hopeful starlet in 1946, played by Kirshner, and the men investigating the murder, Officer Dwight “Bucky” Bleichert and his partner and Sergeant Leland “Lee” Blanchard, played by Harnett and Eckhart. However, little time is spent on the murder and its suspects. Instead, the majority of the movie centers on the relationships between the characters, most of whom are discarded halfway through.

Throughout the movie we can count several different plot lines. First there is the murder of Elizabeth Short. There is also the plot that follows the relationship between the two investigators, Bucky and Lee. After Bucky and Lee become partners, Lee invites Bucky to his house where we are introduced to Lee’s girlfriend Kay played by Johansson. Soon we are thrown into another plot that follows the twisted relationship between Bucky, Lee and Kay. As if the story couldn’t get confusing enough, we now have to deal with the budding relationship between Bucky and Kay. Finally, during the midst of the investigation, Bucky is led to interview heiress Madeleine Linscott played by Swank. Mind you there is more love-making than interviewing going on between those two.

This movie went in a million different directions. With each new plot line that was introduced we lost sight of what seems to be the point of this story, the infamous murder of Elizabeth Short. The ghastly murder alone could have filled the two hour run-time. Instead, we are led in entirely different directions before we are finally cut off from the rest of the story. Then, we are again forced to focus on the murder when the most we know about it is that some chick, who was trying to be famous, got whacked.

This movie left me dazed and confused. After waiting for months for it to be released I was left wondering why I paid almost eight bucks to watch this movie only to enjoy the previews of “Happy Feet,” a story about a dancing penguin.

Leave a Reply

Back To Top