Take one of the most famous unsolved true-crime stories in Hollywood history, add some of the biggest name actors of our time, and throw in the director of CARRIE and THE UNTOUCHABLES, and what do you get? One of the worst films of the year.
I don't know where to begin ripping this apart. The script was terrible. I'm told it's one of Elroy's weakest books, and the adaptation is weak. It's 20 minutes into the film before we get a whiff of anything regarding the Black Dahlia. You'd think that her real-life story would be interesting enough, but Elroy felt he had to create a whole fictional world of film-noir stereotypes to flesh out the story.
There's so much that's over the top. perfectly fine actors like Hillary Swank are laughably bad here; she does an accent that sound like a cross between Katherine Hepburn and the Lucky Charms guy. The camerawork is insane; one entire scene is done subjective camera for no reason whatsoever. Fiona Shaw could have used a fire hose to notch down her performance from burlesque to reality. It's like the actors had no director at all.
I usually like Mark Isham's work, but the music was a sledge-hammer as well. The sound design was weakened considerably by the needless voice-over.