Critic Reviews

49

Metascore

Based on 35 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
70
The Hollywood Reporter
The second half feels heavy and unfulfilled, potential greatness reduced to a good movie plagued with problems.
67
Entertainment Weekly
The film is more than a little in love with the corruption it finds under the floorboards -- and that, of course, is perfectly dandy. I wouldn't trust a film noir that wasn't enthralled by decadence.
63
Philadelphia Inquirer
The film's atmosphere is incendiary. It has style to burn. But for the most part, the performances are all wet.
63
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.
63
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.
50
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.
50
The world of The Black Dahlia is beyond bleak, beyond film noir.
50
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.
50
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.
50
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.
50
Miami Herald
Beautifully crafted, intricately plotted and obviously a labor of love. It is also a mess.

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