Saturday, 17 January 2015

L.A. Confidential, 1997

I want to watch L.A. Confidential from the beginning. I have only seen the last half-hour or so of this gritty and hardboiled detective flick set in 1950s Los Angeles. Directed by Curtis Hanson (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle), the film revolves around corruption in police, series of homicide, conspiracies and cover-ups, drug rackets, pimps and prostitution, and Hollywood and sex. 

Three hardnosed police detectives—Detective Sergeant Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), Officer Wendell ‘Bud’ White (Russell Crowe), and Detective Lieutenant Edmund ‘Ed’ Exley (Guy Pearce)—use their own methods to investigate a series of murders and expose corruption in their ranks. One cop is sleazy, another is short-tempered and brutal, and the third, more reputable than the other two, plays by the rules. Their paths cross and the encounter is volcanic, partly thanks to Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger), a prostitute who sleeps with at least two of the cops, but it’s not really about her.


There is much violence and shootout, between cops and gangsters, and even between good cops and bad cops. There were three surprises for me: one, a young Russell Crowe who behaves like a thug and uses his fists with brutal effect; two, the villain of the show played by an actor I have long admired; and three, the film is based on the namesake noir novel by James Ellroy, a writer I have never read.

What little I saw of L.A. Confidential I liked partly because of the 1950s setting where cops and gangsters wear suits and fedoras and strut their stuff around. The film has a classy noir atmosphere about it.

Recommended

22 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this film when it was released. Both Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce where terrific. Not to mention Danny DeVito and Kim Bassinger, I liked the novel even more. It, in my mind, is the best of James Ellroy. More substance than his early work without the self consciousness of his later work.

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    1. Ben, I plan to read James Ellroy's novels as soon as I find them.

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  2. Have never seen it a second time because I feared my enjoyment would be disturbed because in the interim Spacey and Crowe have become such jerks.

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    1. Patti, that was an interesting comment about Spacey and Crowe. Of the two I don't know what to make of Crowe and the kind of films he has been doing.

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  3. I saw it years ago but I have absolutely no memory of anything in it. Couldn't tell you anything about the plot or story.

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    1. Charles, I'm looking forward to watching the film from the start. It has Danny DeVito, one of my favourite actors,

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  4. We have watched this movie several times, but it has been many years. What I would like to do is read the book, then watch the movie again, but don't know when I will get to that.

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    1. Tracy, I'm familiar with James Ellroy as an author though I have never read his novels. It's time I did.

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  5. I rewatch this movie often. "Off the record, on the QT and very hush, hush."

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    1. Keishon, I didn't know much about this film till I came across it on cable. It has a very fine star cast.

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  6. Loved the book, love the film....probably time for a re-watch.

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    1. Col, I liked the little part of the film I saw and I'll certainly try and read the book, which, in my experience, is always better than its film adaptation.

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    2. The book forms part of a loose quartet of books. Your challenge is to track down, read and report back on all four before the end of the year! Haha....

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    3. Col, I didn't know L.A. CONFIDENTIAL was split into four parts. Thanks for telling me! I hadn't read about this book online. I'll start hunting for it right away.

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    4. I fear I have slightly misled you. LA CONFIDENTIAL works well on its own, but is regarded as a loose quartet of books, with these other 3 titles
      L.A. Quartet
      1. The Black Dahlia (1987)
      2. The Big Nowhere (1988)
      3. L.A. Confidential (1990)
      4. White Jazz (1992)

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    5. Col, thanks, that's a relief! Still, it'd make sense to read the four novels in order. I've actually heard and read about THE BLACK DAHLIA except I didn't realise Ellroy had written it.

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  7. Great film - I remember one year thinking I should go to see more films at the cinema, and this was the first one that came along, and completely inspired me to keep going, and I entered into a period where I went to the cinema at least once a week..,

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    1. Moira, I rarely go to the theatres now though I'd have liked to watch L.A. CONFIDENTIAL on the big screen. Watching a film in the cinema hall is the real thing.

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  8. Terrific movie, Prashant - very stylish and absorbing.

    Colin

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    1. Colin, I take your verdict seriously. The film is absorbing, I agree. There is not a dull moment.

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  9. Love this movie. One of my favorites.

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    1. Ryan, I thought it was a very well-made movie too, in the mould of THE UNTOUCHABLES.

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