Excellent cast is the main reason to enjoy this enormously pleasing film noir. It practically introduced Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce to a broader audience and gave Kim Basinger the highlight of her career. The story take some good twists and turns and is engaging all the way through. Great atmospheric piece with old costumes, cars and golden age Hollywood style add to fun, but the main villain is obvious.
If this had been pitched now, they would have made into a ten part Netflix drama with the promise of future seasons and a spin-off. Luckily for us, L.A. Confidential was produced before the 'Golden Age of Television', now a myopic void of recycled ideas and cash grabbing. It remains a perfect example of depth, homage and timing. And I doubt we'll see another much like it.
Why not - 5 stars. So confident, so slick. A rare feat of its story to be good enough without relying on just being retro. But then you get all the retro features; the style, the textures. I could probably watch a 5 hour version of this. Beautiful cinematography, great characters and performances.
Painful Watch. Written about white men, for white men, by white men. Who wants to watch Kevin Spacey anymore? Racist violence glorified and women over sexualised and fantasied. Not a classic because it's out of date, and has not stood the test of time.
Glossy Hollywood neo-noir where cops whisper in husky voices and let their punches do their talking. Despite its violence, it lacks grit. Despite its coolness, it lacks style. A convoluted plot that meanders forever does not hide the naivety within. Acclaimed and overrated as a modern reinvention of noir this artificially propped-up favourite lacks the subtle elegance and self-sufficiency of timeless classics.
Dense and rich, this is a film that benefits from superior source material (by James Ellroy). It's adapted into gripping cinema by Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson, with the latter also taking on the directorial duties. It's not exactly hard to follow, as hard as that may be to believe, but it's a film that assumes that viewers will give it their full attention. It certainly deserves it.
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.