LA Confidential


Crime pics are everywhere. There are comedy crime movies, action crime movies, metaphysical crime movies, sly and wry narrative fractures masquerading as crime movies, even romantic crime movies. We've been so over-exposed to murder, robbery and police procedure - - both on television and in the cinema - - that what used to be a genre in itself has now become the conventional canvas upon which every modern story is painted. It's a background noise of gunshots and shouting so familiar that we barely notice it any more.

But LA Confidential, uniquely, is a pure crime movie. Rather than use criminal activity as a plot-driving framework, it wrestles with the utter essence of the genre. There's more than enough action in the film's two-and-a-quarter hours to satisfy the most thrill-hungry viewer, but LA Confidential is made stunning, rather than merely gripping, through both the strength of its characters and the brutal rigor of its moral analysis.

The genius of the film - - and it is a film of genius, without a doubt - - is that it holds an investigation into the human soul's capacity for evil, while somehow still managing to be funny, thrilling, lively, shocking and unremittingly entertaining.

It was a mixture potent enough to garner a Palme d'Or nomination at the usually Hollywood-phobic Cannes, and has invited favourable comparisons with such screen legends as Chinatown and The Godfather. For this reviewer, LA Confidential is superior to the former; it's richer, more dynamic and less reverentially styled.

Director Curtis Hanson is not a man familiar with this kind of acclaim. His last feature was the ultra lame The River Wild, which would still have seemed outdated if it had come out five years earlier, when ridiculous psycho movies were in vogue. Before that he gave us the commercially successful, but utterly dreary, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, and Bad Influence, with James Spader and Rob Lowe, which had a likeable edgy premise, but never rose above the gimmicky.

But with this, Hanson - fired up by the extraordinary power of James Ellroy's breathtaking novel to the extent that he took on scripting and production duties as well - has risen to an oxygen-requiring height of achievement. The adaptation of the book is exceptionally accomplished: he adds several new elements - including one astounding twist, and a satisfyingly cinematic ending - thereby condensing and clarifying a ferociously complex story, while still preserving its spirit and power.

The script is matched by an ensemble of intensely committed performances. Kevin Spacey is as attractive, funny and sad as ever, while Babe's James Cromwell is perfectly cast as the fatherly Dudley Smith. Danny DeVito, although hardly stretching himself, is similarly suited to the role of Sid Hudgeons, sleazy tabloid editor. Kim Basinger is both untouchable and sluttish as the film's only significant female, far more a symbol than a real person (Ellroy can't write women, rarely even bothering to).

But the most extraordinary work by far comes from the two main leads: Russell Crowe - wonderful in Proof - and Guy 'Mike from Neighbours' Pearce - entertaining in The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. Both have matured far beyond expectation, and produce driven performances of gulp-inducing physicality. James Woods is the only actor previously capable of taking on an Ellroy-written lead - - in the grotesque Cop, from an early, immature novel - - and Pearce in particular has some of his shatteringly unpredictable presence.

With this volume of intensity up on the screen, backed by such a daring and well-crafted script, snappy design and an unerring sense of pace, LA Confidential is, quite simply, a magnificent movie. On one level, it's as complicated and baffling as The Big Sleep, on another a perfectly-arced sweep of character into action.

It's one of the most intelligent thrillers ever made. It's populated with characters whose every action is illegal or, at the very best, immoral. It's got the best hanging-someone-out-of-a-window-to-make-them-talk scene you'll ever see. For all these reasons, and so many more, it's imperative that you see this film.


You won't have felt this way since Reservoir Dogs: the blazing delight which comes from the knowledge you're watching a truly classic film. Not just a "yeah, really good" film, nor a "wow, that was brilliant" film, but a genuine, certified classic. Beautifully constructed and fabulously acted, it's a nigh-on perfect interpretation of a remarkable book, as violent as it is intelligent, as moving as it is brutal. A must-see for any film fan.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • RickJoiner

      Apr 6th 2009, 12:25


      Alert a moderator

    • jasminaz02

      Jun 14th 2010, 13:29


      the only adaptation from the demon dog which reflects his novels

      Alert a moderator

    • fegetermon

      Oct 9th 2010, 12:19

      I think cute info. I like read your blog. My Mahjong and Hidden object games, great Farm games free, news Pet games for kids, awesome Salon games for girls, usa Babysitting games free, nice Barbie dress up games today, best Bratz dress up games free, cute Britney spears dress up games free, superb Dress Up Games free, Free dress up games for women, nice Girls dress up games for kids, best Hannah montana dress up games tonight, scary Scooby Doo Games for USA and Wedding dress up games free

      Alert a moderator

    • sevdamm

      Feb 3rd 2011, 8:45

      Canlı Chat Canlı Sohbet canlı okey okey oyna okey oyna canlı okey sohbet canlı sohbet odaları canlı chat odaları sohbet odaları chat odaları sohbet siteleri Sevda Sevda Sohbet Sevda siteleri damar sohbet hatay sohbet kayseri sohbet damar sohbet kızlarla sohbet burdur sohbet bolu sohbet trabzon sohbet mamak sohbet artvin sohbet mardin sohbet kilis sohbet gumushane sohbet edirne sohbet dersim sohbet almanya sohbet antalya sohbet mersin sohbet karadeniz sohbet akdeniz sohbet ankara sohbet izmir sohbet cinsel sohbet adana sohbet kadinca sohbet Dj Ates Dinle travesti sohbet turkce sohbet online sohbet dini sohbet islami sohbet nur sohbet risali sohbet mynet sohbet fransa sohbet almanya sohbet belcika sohbet avusturya sohbet hollanda sohbet isvicre sohbet danimarka sohbet ingiltere sohbet bulgaristan sohbet azerbaycan sohbet canlı sohbet okey oyna sevda sohbet sevda chat sevda odaları sevda siteleri okey oyna okey sitesi okey odaları okeyciler canlı okey oyna okey oynamak forum sohbet odaları lez sohbet gay sohbet cinsel sohbet- mirc indir çet hatay radyo dinle- ankara sohbet- izmir sohbet istanbul sohbet adana sohbet bursa sohbet- trabzon chat zurna dul sohbet sohbet kanalları- mersin chat antalya sohbet - rock mp3 indir türkü dinle sohpet mersin sohbet adana sohbet yozgat sohbet sohbet odaları sohbet odaları sohbet odaları- sohbet odaları sohbet odaları sohbet odaları sohbet odaları sohbet odaları erzurum chat türk chat türk chat hatay sohbet sıcak sohbet sex sohbet sex sohbet radyo dinle radyo dinle sohbet odaları sohbet odaları avrupa sohbet islami sohbet

      Alert a moderator

    • Numberonee

      Feb 23rd 2011, 8:46

      kelebek sohbet cam sohbet sohbet siteleri chat siteleri Aşk mesajları Sözler chat kanalları cinsel sohbet istanbul sohbet almanya sohbet chat yap film indir kelebek indir sohbet türkçe mirc mirc indir çet sohbet kelebek kelebek sohbet chat chat dul sohbet chat sohbet chat sohbet mynet sohbet sohbet odaları kelebek mirc kelebek indir sohbet siteleri

      Alert a moderator

Most Popular