The Black Dahlia

Theatrical Release: September 15, 2006
The Black Dahlia


Director Brian De Palma returns to the helm for the first time since 2002’s “Femme Fatale” with this stylish screen adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel detailing one of the most notorious unsolved murders in Hollywood history. Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner) was a struggling actress looking to make a name for herself in 1940s-era Tinseltown. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, it was her grim fate that would ultimately overshadow anything she would accomplish during her short and tragic career.

When police discover Elizabeth’s body cut clean in half and with all of her organs missing, ex-pugilist detectives Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) are the men charged with cracking the case and apprehending the killer. This isn’t your average murder case however, and as Blanchard’s marriage to Kay (Scarlett Johansson) begins to suffer due to his obsession with the sensational crime, his partner Bleichert discovers a troubling link between the victim and the mysterious Madeleine Linscott (Hillary Swank), a prominent socialite and the daughter of one of the town’s most connected key players.

Dove Review

“The Black Dahlia” is a “who done it” crime film such that by the middle of the film you don’t care who done it, you just wish for the film to end. There is no character development and it is hard to follow exactly what is going on. The story is not told very well and they try too hard to imitate an old film noir and fall extremely short. When you combine the graphic, gratuitous violence, the nudity and the many sexual encounters, “The Black Dahlia” is a film about as tasteless as they get. Avoid this one and rent one of the old classic crime films instead.

Content Description

Sex: Women kissing at a lesbian club; drawing shown of couple having sex; implied sexual encounter; two women in underwear kissing each other which then moves onto more graphic sexual activity between the two; passionate kissing, clothes being torn off, camera fades; implied sexual relations.
Language: My G*d-1; JC-3; GD-1; C-1; J-1; S-4; F-21; H-2; A-1; B-2.
Violence: Cop shoots woman in cold blood; woman puts gun into her mouth and blows her head off - blood shown splattering on the curtain behind her; a woman's mouth is cut ear to ear - blood shown; girl hit with a bat twice; man is shot in head; two men fall from balcony - man's head hits fountain with blood shown; child shown with bullet wound in his head; bloody fight in boxing ring shown with a lot of blood; street riot with people getting hit with bats.
Drugs: A lot of smoking and some social drinking.
Nudity: Woman in underwear; naked dead body; many skimpy outfits at lesbian club; couple naked in bed; female breasts shown; man's naked bottom shown.
Other: None


Company: Universal Pictures
Director: Brian De Palma
Producer: Rudy Cohen
Genre: Mystery
Runtime: 121 min.
Industry Rating: R
Reviewer: Dave Lukens