A rare film is one that operates on multiple, often opposing levels, both a character study and traditional narrative, an action thriller with equal parts film noir - stylish period film and cinematic drama with a great cast and chisel sharp edges this film has something for everyone. Director Hanson doesn't work often enough after something like this and a script involving James Ellroy doesn't hurt either.
More classical-Hollywood than modern-Hollywood in its storytelling. It has a respectable patience for setting, characterization, and mood (a half hour goes by without its central plotline being revealed...not missing an energetic beat.) With witty dialogue/one-liners of the golden age, clever plot reveals, and ensemble acting, as well. Only its uniformed camera work/mise-en-scene, and false-happy ending stumble.