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The Black Dahlia (Widescreen Edition)

UPC: 025192918025

Format: DVDMultiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen

List price: $14.98
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The Black Dahlia drips with film noir atmospherics as it unspools a lurid and complicated story taken from James Ellroy's true-crime-inspired novel of the same name. Two boxers-turned-cops--Lee "Mr. Fire" Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart, Thank You For Smoking) and Bucky "Mr. Ice" Bleichert (Josh Hartnett, Black Hawk Down)--are morally tested as they pursue the killer of a young would-be actress, grappling with corruption, narcissism, stag films, and family madness along the way. L.A. Confidential turned Ellroy's heated prose into a taut, compelling movie, but The Black Dahlia collapses like a soggy meringue. Director Brian De Palma (who once made such vibrant, entertaining movies as Carrie and The Untouchables) can't muster the energy to craft one of his trademark bravura action sequences and seems outright bored by the more mundane tasks of shaping performances and establishing mood. The actors flounder; Eckhart seems to be emoting for two, perhaps to compensate for Hartnett's bland lack of affect; even actresses as dependable as Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation) and Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry) give clumsy, unconvincing performances. The one exception is an unsettling performance by Mia Kirshner (Exotica) as the doomed actress, seen only in perverse screen tests and stag films. The story is incomprehensible (and when you can follow it, it's silly); the dialogue is atrocious; the characters make hardly any sense from scene to scene. The movie is, however, good for many moments of absurd camp, such as when Bucky enters the most lavish, palatial lesbian bar you'll ever see, featuring a Busby-Berkeley-style stairway of smooching babes and a crooning k.d. lang. --Bret Fetzer
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Video details

List Price: $14.98
Rating: R (Restricted)
Studio: Universal Studios
Actors: Josh Hartnett Scarlett Johansson Hilary Swank Aaron Eckhart John Kavanagh 
Size: 7.1000" x 5.4200"
Weight: 0.1800 lbs.
Language: English, Spanish, French, French, Spanish, English, German, English