Superlative "modern" film noir!
BackToGood | PA | 08/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are several films that grabbed my attention when they first came out that I probably overrated in the 1990s (an overrated decade for movies) simply because of their immediate appeal, impact, and recognition. Then I have to go back and REALLY watch the film again to see if it is truly great and holds up over time. Thankfully, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997) is one of those 90s films that still holds up and resonates! A cool, precise, confident tale of corruption in early 1950s Hollywood, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL is probably one of the top 5 film noirs ever made. It's one of the very few times when the number of Academy Award nominations (9 total) seemed truly warranted. CONFIDENTIAL won 2 of it's 9 awards (Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress-Kim Basinger). It should have won Best Picture and Director (Curtis Hanson) too!
L.A. CONFIDENTIAL stars Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, and Guy Pearce (as, respectively, Officer Bud White, and Sergeants Jack Vincennes and Ed Exley), 3 cops caught up in a web of corruption to varying degrees within their police precinct. Vincennes is a fame-seeking vice cop who supplies a major smut magazine photojournalist (played with unabashed slimy appeal by Danny Devito) with the inside track on his narc busts of semi-famous Hollywood celebs; Vincennes also has a primo gig as the consultant on a popular TV cop show. Exley is a clean-cut, moralistic desk sergeant who refuses to compromise his ideals in order to convict criminals, even if he knows they are guilty. White is a tough-as-nails street smart cop who will do what it takes to nail criminals, even if it means breaking the law himself.
These 3 sides of the cop triangle (who dislike each other for various reasons) find themselves unwittingly thrown together when a mass murder is committed in a local diner and one of the victims is White's long-time partner Dick Stenslund and another is a high-class call girl Sue Lefferts who worked for major smut peddler Pierce Patchett (confidently played by David Strathairn). The precinct is tasked by their boss, Captain Dudley Smith (superbly played by James Cromwell) to solve the case. White has the most clues as he and Stenslund had had an encounter on Christmas Eve with Patchett, Lefferts, Patchett's scummy bodyguard Buzz Meeks (who Stenslund seemed to recognize), and another of Patchett's call girls Lynn Bracken (the aforementioned Kim Basinger in an sultry, straightforward performance).
Although the plot on the surface seems as convoluted as all get out, it is surprisingly simple and you'll find yourself putting the pieces together as the film moves along. What really still impresses me about CONFIDENTIAL is how fresh and involving the dialogue still is. It never gets old no matter how many times I hear it. And even knowing the big reveal of the film doesn't detract from how engrossing it is. Not to mention, the acting by the 3 leads is truly top-notch. Crowe (THE INSIDER, GLADIATOR-Best Actor, A BEAUTIFUL MIND), Spacey (AMERICAN BEAUTY-Best Actor), and Pearce (MEMENTO) all went on to star individually in these highly acclaimed films, but for some reason, I find their characters in this film more watchable than the ones they portrayed in those. I think a huge key was that all of these actors were essentially newcomers (except for Spacey, who still was making his mark at the time), so that it doesn't come across as big movie star casting gimmicks. It makes the uneasiness with which these 3 men interact seem all the more authentic in the film.
The story and plot of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL pulls you in immediately and never lets up until the final act. The characters are so vividly drawn and progress in a way that you really find yourself connecting with them on some level. Even though L.A. CONFIDENTIAL may be adapted from a piece of "fiction", by the end of the film, you really feel like you've gained insight not only about police tactics, but just about people in general. May be set in the 1950s, but L.A. CONFIDENTIAL has a universal and timeless appeal that will always be prescient."
Kevin Spacey at it again!
CallieJL78 | 09/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a Spacey fan, you'll love this. It is all about Old Hollywood, both the glamourous and the grimy. Awesome crime story which rivals the Departed way before that movie was ever conceived. Great cast of actors which hold their own, and tell the story together. Due to the strong ensemble of characters no one is responsible for carrying the film, however they all do in their own way. This has become one of my favorites, give it a try, and it may become a staple of your collection as well. It can be watched again and again in order to experience all of the subtle nuances of the film."
"Warner Brothers Should Be proud"
Terry Richard | Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada | 07/24/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As many people who collect DVD's know the movie studios are constantly rereleasing films in different packaging as a way to make more money. Sometimes the studios are guilty for squandering money from consumers when they release a film yet again on DVD, only with a different cover art and if the purchaser is lucky you might get some extra new bonus material. However, with the rerelease of "LA Confidential" the studio gave the film a complete overhaul, not only in the DVD art, but the film itself has been completely restored to impeccable quality and there are a ton of new bonus features. Buying this new set is like watching the film all over again!
"LA Confidential" deals with the underbelly of Hollywood in the 1950's where sex, greed, political scandal, and murder are examined by a bunch of Los Angeles police detectives headed by a then-unknown Russell Crowe in one of his first big-screen acting gigs. Guy Pearce (known for playing a drag queen in "Priscilla-Queen of the Dessert) and Kevin Spacey are Crowe's partners-in-crime. The film is stolen by the convincing performance by Kim Bassinger who plays a sexy Hollywood starlette who happens to be a call-girl. This role won Bassinger the Oscar for Outstanding Supporting Performance by an Actress. The movie also won the Oscar for Best Screeenplay.
Upon release in 1997 the movie was a huge financial success raking in nearly $130,000,000.
The DVD is filled to the brim with extras including new interviews, commentary, and more and comes with a bonus CD that features music from the film."