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Based on 35 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 0 )
  • 50
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    Looks and flows great, dripping with the 1940s crime-thriller atmosphere that James Ellroy described in his 1987 novel. On other levels -- plot (overstuffed), suspense (muted), acting (Hilary Swank as a femme fatale? Please!), posing (Scarlett Johansson plays dress-up as a mini Lana Turner), sex (it's all before and after) -- the movie is a bust. show more

  • 50
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    The world of The Black Dahlia is beyond bleak, beyond film noir. show more

  • 50
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    The Black Dahlia captivates with its dark style. 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. show more

  • 50
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    The production certainly looks sumptuous, and certifies Mr. Hartnett as a mainstream movie star. But the script is frequently impenetrable, the pacing is ponderous, and the film noir style can't conceal a crucial piece of misconceived casting. show more

  • 63
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    The film's atmosphere is incendiary. It has style to burn. But for the most part, the performances are all wet. show more

  • 50
    Jack Mathews New York Daily News

    In writer Josh Friedman and director Brian de Palma's attempts to condense the book's convulsively odd final chapters, they've created an even loonier melodrama. show more

  • 70
    Kirk Honeycutt The Hollywood Reporter

    The second half feels heavy and unfulfilled, potential greatness reduced to a good movie plagued with problems. show more

  • 63
    Lou Lumenick New York Post

    If this overcooked version of James Ellroy’s novel - inspired by a famous 1947 Los Angeles murder - is less than fully satisfying or even believable storytelling and acting, it’s still possible to get a kick out of this fever dream loaded with eye candy. show more

  • 63
    Ethan Alter Premiere

    You've got to give the guy (De Palma) some credit. He's made a bizarre, baffling and at times flat-out bad movie. But at least it's rarely boring. show more

  • 50
    Rene Rodriguez Miami Herald

    Beautifully crafted, intricately plotted and obviously a labor of love. It is also a mess. show more

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