Black Dahlia

Rating:

Scarlett Noir

Main Cast: Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart, Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank

Director: Brian DePalma

Plot Summary: The murder of a young girl sends two L.A. cops in the 1940’s into a web of danger and intrigue as they attempt to find the killer.

Steeped in film noir, Black Dahlia is a rambling, plot-thick crime thriller weaves so many threads that it almost, but not quite, lost me.

We meet two cops: Bucky Bleichert (Hartnett), young and energetic, and Lee Blanchard (Eckhart), older and more experienced. Both, however, are boxers and show their stuff in the opening scenes where mobs are brawling in the streets. Lee has a girlfriend named Kay Lake (Johansson), beautiful, sleek, and very intelligent. After Fire and Ice (the nicknames of the two boxers) go at each other in the ring, they are pushed together as partners.

Meanwhile, crimes are committed in this dark city. Lee is obsessed by the pending release of a convict he and Kay have a history with, one that isn’t explained to Bucky until much later. But the grisly murder of a young woman grabs Bucky’s attention and throws him into a dark and convoluted mystery, that touches the very rich, porn, and lesbians amidst quite a bit else.

Bucky, Lee, and Kay become friends. It is a complex relationship, and you can sense that something has to give eventually. It does, but not in the way you’d expect. In fact, there are many things about this film that are surprisingly new. It does not, however, go against the film noir style, where all the characters are not quite what they seem, all have secrets, and none are squeaky clean.

I think I enjoyed this one. It is complex, with many threads, somewhat hurriedly put together, and the ending. well, it seems to end multiple times, but does not. I do promise that everything is explained, if not completely. I’m not sure that even at this length (it did not feel like a long movie) is enough to contain the plot. But there certainly is enough to please everyone.

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