HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
Shoplifters
Redeemer
Incredibles 2
Big House, The
Night Eats the World, The
War Bus
Back to Berlin
Leave No Trace
   
 
Newest Articles
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
   
 
  L.A. Confidential It's A Fair CopBuy this film here.
Year: 1997
Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, David Strathairn, Ron Rifkin, Matt McCoy, Paul Guilfoyle, Paolo Seganti, Graham Beckel, Amber Smith, Darrell Sandeen, Simon Baker, Brenda Bakke
Genre: Drama, Action, Thriller
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Los Angeles in the early nineteen-fifties is quite a place, with crime rampant around the city, and that’s just the police force. The gangster Mickey Cohen is their main target, but no matter how often they think they can get him reined in, he manages to squirm out of their clutches to become increasingly powerful, generating what effectively is a war between the Cohen mobsters and the cops, many of whom have no qualms about using violence and bribes to get their way. Three cops in particular will be instrumental in upsetting this apple cart: the bruiser Bud White (Russell Crowe) who considers himself on the side of all abused women, the smoothie Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) who supplements his income with media work, and the would-be crusader Ed Exley (Guy Pearce)…

Author James Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet was among the most electrifying series of crime novels published in the latter stages of the twentieth century, but there were problems with turning them into movies (or television series, as this item was proposed as initially), since they were so densely packed with plot and incident that conjuring the unique mood and texture of Ellroy’s writing would prove next to impossible, not to mention the fact they were so stuffed with extreme violence that any attempt would see them considerably toned down, thus leaving out much of what rendered them so vivid and disturbing. Those obstacles, after a long time in gestation, were solved by director Curtis Hanson and his co-writer Brian Helgeland more or less ignoring them.

They both went their own way in a considerably simplified account of the novel, taking the same characters and giving them different things to do, even to the point of inventing a new ending with different fates for them. Ellroy was pleased with the results, as were a lot of moviegoers who turned it into a hit that garnered two Oscars, one for the screenplay and the other a Best Supporting Actress gong for Kim Basinger who played a key character who was meant to be a Veronica Lake lookalike, an effect somewhat harmed when a clip of the actual Lake was played during the story and you could see for yourself they would never be mistaken for one another, mostly because Basinger looked unmistakably like herself.

That quibble aside, it was a very strong cast well handled by Hanson, who with this could lay claim finally to a movie many proclaimed a classic after toiling in the middle ground of filmmaking for a number of years, and you would not begrudge him that accolade especially as he achieved a slick result that crafted an understandable narrative out of what could have been a big muddle. Yet there was a lingering sense that L.A. Confidential (film) was not quite as smart as it thought it was (book), especially as it built its twisting events up to a climax that was really too pat, too keen to wrap up every thread in a neat bow while on the page Ellroy was drawing his book to the next instalment. One reveal in particular could make you groan, not least when it was resolved as if this were a white hats versus black hats Western.

Not to say there were no benefits from watching L.A. Confidential, as the sheen of its visuals were a handsome recreation of the era without being too preserved in the past; it had an immediacy greatly assisted by the three excellent performances at its centre. Crowe was perfectly cast as the thug with the heart of gold, easy to be offended and easier to redress that with his fists or his guns, Spacey’s slyly amused performance demonstrated why he may be more difficult to cast than he seemed, but once he was in the right role he would shine, and Pearce pursed his lips as the conservative cop who is maybe not as true blue as he would like to think (though the resolution of his connection to Basinger’s prostitute certainly arrived out of the blue). Elsewhere, James Cromwell as the Chief struggled with an Irish accent but was ambiguous for long enough and Danny DeVito impressed as the scandal sheet hack, but the anarchy on the streets of Los Angeles was hard to accept when reassurance was the final note the film sounded, and not one that rang true, especially in the nineties. Music by Jerry Goldsmith.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1019 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (4)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
Alexander Taylor
   

 

Last Updated: