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L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997) - R
Director Curtis Hansen's "L.A. Confidential" is an gritty, realistic crime-drama. Hansen received a nomination for best directing.
Nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
Promotional Lines: "It's a
crime saga that will shock you.
"Everything is suspect...everyone is for sale...and nothing is what it seems."
The basic plot line tells the story of police corruption inside the Los Angeles Police Department as they battle the mob. The film follows several police detectives and officers as they catch bad guys, uncover corruption, and eventually discover the truth.
After a bloody massacre in an all night diner, where a cop, with suspicious, questionable ties is killed, three very different cops, using very different styles seek the truth, uncovering along the way L.A. police corruption and brutality, and the dark world of drug dealing,pornography prostitution.behind 1950's L.A. crime world. Someone's killing imprisoned mob boss Mickey Cohen's gang. Who and Why? The story of how two cops, with different value systems, follow leads-some dead ends, some helpful, that ultimately lead them to the truth, is told with "panache." 1950's Los Angeles is the "seedy backdrop" for this finely crafted, excellently scripted and intelligent film, a "lush tribute to tough film noir crime films."
Oscar-winning adapted screenplay (by Hanson and Brian Helgeland), based on the multi-layered James Ellroy novel, L.A. Confidential offers a "very edgy and twisted mystery thriller," being one of the most masterfully spun conspiracy movies. This film is breathtaking, and gets better with every viewing, because it is so totally involving from start to finish,being so intensely gripping. The density of the story and the spider web of events and high drama brings surprise after surprise in a complex hidden plot, complete with thrills. A viewer's full attention to every scene is necessary in order to not miss anything.
A good many of the lines are taken directly from James Ellroy's novel. The dialogue is excellent, ranging from the most common conversations to the stylish, "Dick Tracy-like dialogue" between Bud White and Lynn Bracken when they first meet. The style of this film does more than revive the '50's; it cleverly uses the clichés and stereotypes of the era, weaving them throughout elements in the story to add color and depth, and atmosphere to the soul of the movie. The audience is constantly "dodged between comic book adventure and reality, which is a very exciting experience." The film ends in the typical, all-out gunfight, bringing to life yet another cliché with great skill.
Musically and visually, the film puts you in Hollywood LA in the 1950's, by total immersion, into a glamorous but corrupt city, with spectacular results. The sets and production design is another plus. Jeannine Claudia Oppewall's production design recreates the dark underside of the 50's to such perfection that "not even a Coke bottle label is missed." Add to that Dante Spinotti's creative lighting "that rides the fine line between artistic and believable comfortably," and Ruth Myers' costume designs as well. The cinematography and editing is first-rate. The music score (by the great Jerry Goldsmith) is finely done (not to mention some good old classic songs).
Curtis Hanson, does an outstanding job with the way he put this movie superbly together. The acting, brilliant script and his very classy direction produced a real work of art. A tremendously talented cast, in "blistering form," leaves the audience actually wondering what the ending will be. All what audience able to think about is how the three main police officers can uncover the web of intrigue and deceit and not get killed in the process. As the movie centers around the theme of corruption, and gives a very dark and pessimistic view of the world and of the police force, some questions pop into one's mind. Will they escape corruption and murder, and will they find their own morality? Each of the three main characters grow and change, and in the end, Pearce, Bassinger, and Crowe manage to beat corruption. Confidential gives a message that we should all search and try to experience some purity, despite the pain and cost.
Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), Bud White (Russell Crowe), and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) all have in common the desire to find the truth and get the bad guys, despite their differences. Ed Exley was the son of a heroic cop who was killed under mysterious circumstances. He seeks justice by the book, being a "very straight-laced, do-right, straight-forward politician cop" who strives to be promoted up through the police ranks, oblivious to what others think of him. Also, Exley is willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out. He thinks he can rise above the unseemly/corruption factor in the department.
Bud White (Russell Crowe) is the really serious tough cop who doesn't mess around; ready to break the rules to get justice. He is willing to beat confessions out of suspects. He also is on a mission to punish wife abusers with a quick dose of their own medicine. Russell Crowe is his usual "quiet, but forceful self." Crowe's skillfully portrays his character's strength, anger, and frailty, the result being a showcase of his talent, adding a lot to the film.
Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) who was always looking for fame and quick sleazy money, from the likes of Danny DeVito, turns around when his conscience drives him fatefully down the narrow, one-way path to find the truth behind this ever involving criminal case. Kevin Spacey gives a great performance as the detective who not only solves an important part of this entangling puzzle, but he even finds his soul beneath his self centeredness and materialistic heart. His sacrifice unites the two other vastly different detectives in their quest to get to the bottom of the murders, crime and corruption.
Kim Basinger gave an Oscar-winning performance as Lynn Bracken, the Veronica Lake look-alike prostitute. Bassinger plays a "classic gangster story lady," with a pure heart and a determined mind set, who becomes involved with Bud White. "Basinger is so strong in her character's every nuance you'll find yourself forgetting she's even acting."
Danny DeVito plays a character of a sleazy tabloid publisher who pays Jack Vincennes to tell him of the news of celebrities who are arrested, etc., so he can cash in on other's troubles.
Other poignant characters Captain Dudley Smith (James Cromwell), pornographer Pierce Patchett (David Strathairn), who runs a stable of high-class hookers who are ringers for movie stars, and dirty District Attorney Ellis Loew (Ron Rifkin).
This movie is rated R for violence and subject matter. It is a very powerful film for those over 17, and who are not sensitive to violence, and intense situations.