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Dive into the seedy underworld of 1950s Hollywood in this riveting drama of three L.A. detectives desperate to solve a sensational murder case. Double Oscar winner, including Best Supporting Actress for Kim Basinger.
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This movie is already a few years old and yet it has become recently reacquainted with it, due to doctor's orders - bed rest. Now one has time to revisit some movies that may be interesting and watch them more than once. To refer to movies as one would refer to books would be heresy and yet I find myself reading a good book several times and watching a good movie several times too. With movies it is certain scenes or parts of a script that I watch over and over because they are brilliant. Perhaps writing reviews may become another new thing I do whilst recovering from surgery and being on what I now fondly call 'bed arrest'. It is all going well, so please do not worry about this humble reviewer. Your humble reviewer though finds it hard to stay still and do as she is told (doctor's orders remember). This movie has a number of particular qualities in addition to being a very interesting story. The main kick is that some of the greatest artists are in this movie performing in a good plot together when they were young. Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey Guy Pearce, Danny De Vito, and many more. I definitely urge to consider watching this one again on a day when you are told you have to stay in bed for your health, you have had a stressful week or you want to see a movie with a plot that is quite interesting. This is perhaps the movie where I became a fan of Guy Pearce (he is not just a pretty face but a very smart one too). I am, as you know, a reviewer than likes to comment on the performance and the appeal of the movie itself as opposed to telling you what it is all about (which spoils the fun to have something to look forward to). For those reviewers who do find it important to reveal the plot of each movie in detail and do so kindly excuse me, I respect your style. Sometimes a movie that is worth much more than what the critics say is overlooked. This one, is now, in my opinion: a classic. I hope you find it as entertaining as I did or perhaps blame it on the bed rest. Your call. Do value each moment of life and please have some fun (books and movies), don't wait until you are told you are sick before you do. I hope some of you do agree with yours truly. One more thing: streaming is perfect. One more thing I love about technology now compared to where we were ten years ago. Thank you and enjoy.
This film was the big sensation of 1997. Re-watching it 22 years later with more of a jaundiced eye, I have to say that it still holds up pretty well.
_LA Confiedntial_ replicates 50's noir cinema successfully, except that it's in color (but it's very 50's looking color, a nice detail), and it includes the requisite 90's nudity, profanity, and violence that was forbidden in those movies. A lot of the dialogue sounds like it came from a 50's _Dragnet_ episode, but that's appropriate.
The performances by Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Danny DeVito, and James Cromwell, as well as most of the supporting cast, are convincing. I'm leaving out Kim Basinger, who plays a blonde bimbo (every 50's noir movie has to have one) who is not greatly integral to the story, just there for sex appeal. Let's face it: She didn't get famous because of her brilliant acting.
I can't help but wonder if, in the 50's, all cops beat witnesses and suspects and stuck pistols in their mouths to get information. I'm sure it happened at times, but in this film, it's the norm. Hollywood embellishment, perhaps. I haven't read James Ellroy's novel, so I can't really say. But bad guys are bad guys, and it's fun to watch them get their asses kicked.
The multiple plots intertwine without confusing the viewer, and they come together nicely.
The entire agenda of the film is about exploring the sleaze, political corruption, and immorality that lies beneath the superficiality and glamour of L.A. That is exactly what noir writers like Chandler, Hammett and others were all about. In various ways, this film pays respect to them all.
With all of its affectations, this film is like watching a cartoon. But a damn good one.
LA Confidential is based on a superbly written screenplay, mysterious characters and events that will keep you guessing until the end. It is basically a police-detective crime story but it is beautifully constructed with a film noir style. It is also about honor and doing the right thing in the face of adverse conditions, sticking to your guns and principles, and not following the crowd. It is the story of a lonely outsider, a rookie cop, in the midst of corrupt police force trying to solve a murder mystery that involves killing of multiple police officers. Guy Pearce is great as the new kid who goes by the book; Kevin Spacey is awesome and one of his best performances (right after American Beauty and The Usual Suspects). Russell Crowe is also great. Kim Basinger earned her only Oscar in this one as the Best Supporting Actress. I highly recommend this movie to all film lovers.
3.0 out of 5 starsOK. Reminiscent of Polanski's 'Chinatown'
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 23, 2019
This period film set in 1950s Los Angeles, featuring criminal activities, is reminiscent of Roman Polanski's 'Chinatown', although set a couple of decades later. Those who like either film, and some people like them a lot, will probably like both. I find them OK but not compelling, with Chinatown the better of the two.
LA Confidential has an ensemble cast including Kevin Spacey who is currently among those in disgrace in Hollywood for alleged unwanted sexual groping, in his case of boys. His performance here is, like the film itself, perfectly good , but not a must see.
5.0 out of 5 starsOne of the Best Films Ever Made.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2019
Have had this film on ye olde VHS tape. Decided to get it on DVD, special edition version. If you haven't seen this fim you have not seen, Crowe, Pearce, Spcacy, Devito at their best and not to metnion Oscar Award Winning peformance from Bassinger. Coruption, politics, sex and sin make LA Confidential one of the best films of all time.
When a film is referred to as being 'timeless', it has nothing to do with the quality of the special effects, or the length, or the company that made it (Disney seems to refer to every one of its movies as a 'classic' - really? Have you seen Cars 2?!). No, what it has to do with, is story, script, direction and performance. If you've got those things right, the movie will live forever. Look at the 1950's War of the Worlds or the Time Machine - sure the effects are a bit creaky, but boy, how much better are they than their modern remakes? Look at The Maltese Falcon, or The Third Man, yeah, they are black and white, but so what? Both of those films have story and style to burn. And so we come to LA Confidential. A movie that is set in the fifties, has the wonderful feel of a 1970's detective thriller, a great modern sheen, fantastic actors, a scorching script and assured direction. What more could you possibly want? This movie is already about 17 or 18 years old. The greatness of it is that it feels like it could have been made yesterday, or have been magically transported through a black-hole from the 1950's, it lives and breathes it so well. I could have written this review a long time ago, but I 've only obtained the Blu-Ray recently, and seeing it as crisp and clear and watching the superb special features (commentary, documentaries, etc), I just HAD to write this. Timeless, indeed.
L.A. Confidential gets a welcome blu-ray visual upgrade that's light years ahead of the fuzzy 1998 DVD. Great colours and a superb Dolby TrueHD audio track compliment this extras packed blu-ray. I adore here how director/co-writer/producer Curtis Hanson paints this entire tapestry very subtly, showing the terrible realisation in Guy Pearce's ( Ed Exley) expression, or when jaded and haunted Jack Vincennes ( Kevin Spacey) can't remember why he became a cop. Kim Basinger ( Lynn Bracken) is the intelligent yet vulnerable heart of L.A. Confidential and in the extras, she's as much in love with the film, the characters, including Bud White ( Russell Crowe) as we are.
'L. A. Confidential' is one of the best neo-noir crime films made over the past few decades. It features a strong cast and a story well told. I can't help comparing it to 'Chinatown' which, in my humble opinion, is the absolute top neo-noir film. This is a good film to add to my classic film noir/neo-noir collection.