Cert: 18 Runtime: 138 mins Director: Curtis Hanson Cast: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kim Basinger
Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are wide and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap. Every working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a happy, all-American family. You can have all this, and who knows… you could even be discovered, become a movie star… or at least see one. Life is good in Los Angeles… it’s paradise on Earth.” Ha ha ha ha. That’s what they tell you, anyway.
L.A. Confidential in my mind is one of the best films made in the 90’s, it’s one of those film that grabs me from the start. 1950’s Los Angeles is the seedy backdrop for this intricate noir-ish tale of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Three very different cops are all after the truth, each in their own style: Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), the golden boy of the police force, willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out; Bud White (Russell Crowe), ready to break the rules to seek justice, but barely able to keep his raging violence under control; and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), always looking for celebrity and a quick buck until his conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. crime. Will they solve the Nite Owl murders ?
L.A. Confidential most likely falls into the category of one of the best movies of the past twenty years. The complex story line seemed to burst at the seams with intelligence. I found the complexity of several different sub-plots working together challenged the intellectual part of my brain while the intense action through out the entire movie satisfied the craving of the not-so-intellectual part of my brain that enjoys seeing a good brawl followed by a good shoot-out. Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson did and excellent job of combining many elements of several different kinds of films into one. They seem to have made this movie with several different audiences in mind.The best aspect of L.A. Confidential is the way that not everything is as it seems, and then, in an instant, all of the plots are sprung like a trap and come together for a grand finale.
Though the movie garnered several big nominations at the 1997 Academy Awards, the nation had been swept up by the gigantic and romantic blockbuster, Titanic, thus shrinking the chances of this brilliant movie from garnering any real awards. 1997 completely screwed this phenomenal film, in which three brilliant actors gave the performances of their careers. The performances by the ensemble cast are also superb. Kim Basinger stands out the most with her Oscar-winning role.I still think that this is Spacey’s, Crowe’s and Pearce’s best film of there career. Russell Crowe as tough guy but sentimental towards women Bud White is flawless and is quite like the real Russell Crowe which is scary. Guy Pearce as the quick witted but dumb looking Ed Exley is someone one you either love or you hate as the annoying rookie. Kevin Spacey is just as cool as anything that Bogart and Mitchium could have pulled off as Jack Vincennes and there is the movie along with a great script by Brain Heagland of Mystic River fame and Curtis Hanson himself who put together a great script from James Elroy’s novel.
The directing is fantastic. Curtis Hanson doesn’t shove anything in the audience’s face; instead, he allows the audience to discover the film’s nuances on their own. (That makes this an excellent film for repeat viewings, you truly catch something new every time). 1950s Los Angeles is reproduced beautifully. The editing is quick and seamless, the music is perfect for the film (Hanson should teach other director`s how to do a montage effectively), and the cinematography is great.I can’t find a negative thing to say about this film. It’s truly a masterpiece.