L.A. Confidential (1997) dir. by Curtis Hanson, writ. by Brian Helgeland (adapted from the novel by James Ellroy)

May 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

A flawless adaptation of a gargantuan neo-noir novel, L.A. Confidential is a resoundingly brilliant film, top down. The script crackles, each character is fully formed, unique, memorable and integral to the story. The central mystery and sub-plots are all interesting, the production design is gorgeous and flawless, recreating a Hollywoodized 1950s Los Angeles while still revealing the realistic seediness, from junkies to closeted homosexuals banished to fleabag motels. Corrupt cops, femme fatales, its all here. The film doesnt get enough credit due to its cast being made up of then unknown actors. Russell Crowe was still trying to get his foot in the door in American Cinema before bursting forth in this searing, combustible performance as the altruistic and hard nosed cop willing to go that extra, ethically questionable mile to get his bad guy. Nobody had heard of Guy Pierce before he played the square-brained, politically ambitious sergeant Edmond J. Exley and while director Curtis Hanson had made some good films like The River Wild, he didnt have anywhere near the clout a project like this normally requires of its director. Everything from Danny DeVitos tongue in cheek tabloid-esque voice over to the humble performance of Kevin Spacey as a pretty boy detective, enamored of Hollywood and losing touch with his real job, Confidential is pure cinematic gold. Kim Basinger turned the Hooker With A Heart of Gold cliche into a veritable art form and Jerry Goldsmiths jazz-classical combo score is devastatingly atmospheric. This is one of the few films in existence that one can say is perfect. A confluence of talent and timing has resulted in a modern classic, worthy of as much praise as it can get.


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