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L.A. Confidential
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Reviews & Ratings for
L.A. Confidential More at IMDbPro »

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316 out of 367 people found the following review useful:

Everything in this film is fantastic.

10/10
Author: Giuseppe Giuseppe from Anaheim, CA
11 January 2000

L.A. Confidential is, without a doubt, the best film of the 1990s, and quite possibly one of the best films ever made.

As with any great film, it all starts with the writing. The story is riveting, the dialogue is smart and quite funny, and the characters are written in three dimensions.

The acting is phenomenal. Perhaps a bigger tragedy than L.A. Confidential's loss to Titanic in the Best Picture race is that none of the three lead actors even garnered nominations. Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, and Kevin Spacey are absolutely phenomenal; it is their characters that drive this fascinating story about police corruption in 1950s Los Angeles. We get to know these people, to understand who they are and why they do what they do, and to root for them to overcome their imperfections.

The directing is fantastic. Curtis Hanson doesn't shove anything in the audience's face; instead, he allows the audience to discover the film's nuances on their own. (That makes this an excellent film for repeat viewings, you truly catch something new every time). 1950s Los Angeles is reproduced beautifully. The editing is quick and seamless, the music is perfect for the film (Hanson should teach other directors how to do a montage effectively), and the cinematography is great.

I can't find a negative thing to say about this film. It's truly a masterpiece.

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227 out of 263 people found the following review useful:

Three Phenomenal Actors Give The Performances Of A Life Time

10/10
Author: Jamie Marolla (flipgirl38@hotmail.com) from Seattle, WA
1 September 2003

Six years ago, a director by the name of Curtis Hansen came out with a small time film named L.A. Confidential. Though the movie garnered several big nominations at the 1997 Academy Awards, the nation had been swept up by the gigantic and romantic blockbuster, Titanic, thus shrinking the chances of this brilliant movie from garnering any real awards. 1997 completely screwed this phenomenal film, in which three brilliant actors gave the performances of their careers.

Russell Crowe plays Detective Bud White, a tough L.A. cop who bends the rules in order to bring justice to the city. He is ruthless, and unforgiving of anyone, which brings him into direct conflict with Detective Lieutenant Ed Exley, played by Guy Pearce. Russell Crowe became with this role a full pledged character actor,: the cop with a steel physique, and a vulnerable heart. He becomes so believable and real to the audience, you can not help but sympathize for his character under the circumstances. From this role, Crowe went on to garner three best actor nominations, winning for his role in Gladiator.

Guy Pearce, the little known Australian body builder, became the character known as Ed Exley, a straight, uptight detective trying to live up to the legend his father created before him. Exley has so much to prove to the LAPD, trying to show them that he is just as good, maybe even better, than his father. He plays the politics in a corrupted police department very well, and is able to use these skills in solving the corrupt and mysterious case of the Night Owl murders. This film officially put Guy Pearce in the big leagues of film, making his next appearances in Memento and The Count of Monte Cristo. He is a severely underrated actor who deserves better than what he has been getting.

Finally, the ever wonderful Kevin Spacey. Spacey plays Lieutenant Jack Vincenes, a cop who gives a popular LA police show, Badge of Honor, real solved cases in return for money. Jack sees his life as an ever going soap opera, until he comes across a case that somehow has a connection to the Night Owl murders. Kevin Spacey has proved time and again his abilities as an actor, and he continues with this performance.

Curtis Hansen does a wonderful job bringing this story to the big screen. His talents, although recognized, have not been awarded as of yet. I can only hope that someday, someone will give this amazing director something worthy of his talents.

Highly Recommended.

MJR

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165 out of 200 people found the following review useful:

On of the best movies of the past 20 years.

Author: Brad (medicineman) from Ft. Worth, Texas
26 November 2001

L.A. Confidential most likely falls into the category of one of the best movies of the past twenty years. The complex story line seemed to burst at the seams with intelligence. I found the complexity of several different sub-plots working together challenged the intellectual part of my brain while the intense action through out the entire movie satisfied the craving of the not-so-intellectual part of my brain that enjoys seeing a good brawl followed by a good shoot-out. Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson did and excellent job of combining many elements of several different kinds of films into one. They seem to have made this movie with several different audiences in mind. I for one, as I have mentioned, enjoyed the intellectual aspect as well as the action, while my wife enjoyed the combination of a love story with drama. It really has something for everyone. Bringing together all of these elements into one film sets it apart from many others. Of course the best aspect of L.A. Confidential is the way that not everything is as it seems, and then, in an instant, all of the plots are sprung like a trap and come together for a grand finale. Overall L.A. Confidential is an exceptional film that contains something for everyone.

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140 out of 163 people found the following review useful:

A "Chinatown" for the 1990s

Author: tfrizzell from United States
25 June 2000

"L.A. Confidential" is brilliant. The screenplay and direction are second-to-none. The performances by the ensemble cast are also superb. Kim Basinger stands out the most with her Oscar-winning role. Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, David Strathairn, and Danny DeVito all have their moments as well. The film deals with the seamy side of Los Angeles in the post-World War II 1950s. Los Angeles is a place of shady dealings and police corruption. To add to those problems is the creation of the smutty tabloid. Multi-layered and smart, "L.A. Confidential" will be the greatest survivor of the films released in 1997. 5 out of 5 stars.

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131 out of 158 people found the following review useful:

hard-hitting, smart movie

10/10
Author: trvpup from United States
15 March 2005

Although this movie 'flopped' at the box office at $53 million, this just may be one the smartest movies you haven't seen. With great performances from an ensemble all-star cast and a clever script, the dramatic tension of this modern film-noir classic is an absolute must-see! Told through a variation on the theme of "good cop, bad cop" with an overarching corruption angle, this film cleverly deals with issues of racism, social justice and ethics in a non-discriminatory manner. Character development is well-done and the dramatic tension is superb. If you are a fan of crime-drama and detective stories, you won't be disappointed!

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131 out of 164 people found the following review useful:

Will stand the test of time.........

10/10
Author: John Stacy (stacy610@aol.com) from Providence, RI
3 August 1998

When a film evokes an era as well as L.A. Confidential does, people take notice. It could be argued that it is easier to replicate the recent past than the distant on film, and in a sense this is true. Costumes, language, and the necessary absence of the modern in "period pieces" make them expensive and difficult to film. But couldn't it be argued that it is just as difficult to make a film about more recent periods? I have no knowledge of how a Victorian era table was set, or what a knight really spoke like; we are subject to the directors view of reality. But what if a good deal of your audience lived through the time you are portraying, as in the case of the 1950's? I can even envision my grandfather coming back from WW2 to a booming economy, and living in the world Curtis Hanson created.

The real genus of this film is that it creates not only a physical world, but one with all the politics, corruption, racism and inequity of the time. As a result we feel the characters motivations and understand their faults all the better; Bud White, Ed Exley, Lynn Bracken and Lana Turner all live here.

This film, like others that make us believe we are there for two hours (and $7.50), will endure. I was thinking a perfect double feature would be with Chinatown, another film that will stand the test of time.

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116 out of 139 people found the following review useful:

Great Detective Movie

Author: Rob from United Kingdom
15 April 2004

L.A. Confidential is the most classy, intriguing, thought provoking and sexiest detective movie ever to be made in the history of detective films.

When you look back at it and see that Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey and Guy Pearce actually appeared in the same film back in 97 then you wouldn't have believed it since they have all gone on to better things but before that we had L.A. Confidential which was Crowe's and Pearce's ticket into Hollywood. Spacey had already made it with his Best Supporting Actor nod for The Usual Suspects but what puzzles me is how everybody apart from Kim Basinger didn't get any acting nominations at the Oscars. James Cromwell is the most chilled out villain you'll ever going to see in a film like this and has been criminally ignored by the Academy. Curtis Hanson was also someone who had made some good films but no masterpieces till this came along.

They all must have sold their souls to make this because when you get big cast get together to make a Hollywood film then you become a bit intrigued by it because if the cast is big then is the story any good? In L.A. Confidential's case it had both and a lot more to say the least.

I still think that this is Spacey's, Crowe's and Pearce's best film of there career. Russell Crowe as tough guy but sentimental towards women Bud White is flawless and is quite like the real Russell Crowe which is scary. Guy Pearce as the quick witted but dumb looking Ed Exley is someone one you either love or you hate as the annoying rookie. Kevin Spacey is just as cool as anything that Bogart and Mitchium could have pulled off as Jack Vincennes and there is the movie along with a great script by Brain Heagland of Mystic River fame and Curtis Hanson himself who put together a great script from James Elroy's novel.

Kim Basinger is as sexy as she is going to get and her acting is very good and well deserving of her Oscar if the boys were robbed. I liked how we had three different stories and one case that all had something to do with another but were all separate anyway till the end. It was like watching a movie with three stories based on a trio of detectives. L.A. Confidential was a treat as far as storytelling goes because it enthrals you into the film straight away as well as it being more exciting than a night out in Vegas.

We don't see Detective films like this so we should be grateful that this came along when it did.

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97 out of 132 people found the following review useful:

Tour de Force

10/10
Author: Kyra Mairead Gorski (orla.kyra@excite.com) from Tucson, Arizona
9 February 1999

This is the ultimate movie on the corruptness of the police force during the 1950's. No one is going to make a better movie than LA Confidential, the cast is perfect, the direction is superb, the screenplay is amazing, the choice of music, the graphic brutality, the not so fine line between good and evil.

When I saw this in the theatres, I came out of the theatre and couldn't say anything because I was awed. And I was amazed by how wonderful Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce were, I had never heard of them before, so I didn't know what to expect, but now I have two new favorite actors. And I couldn't believe that Russell was a New Zealander and Guy was an Aussie. They had great American accents. And of course Kevin Spacey was superb as always.

Any way, this is an awesome movie, go rent it if you have not seen it.

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89 out of 126 people found the following review useful:

***** Best Film of the 90s

10/10
Author: Bil-3 from Toronto, Ontario
17 February 2000

Hands-down my favourite American film of the nineties. Curtis Hanson shocked the world by proving to be not only a great director but an auteur with this unbeatable adaptation of James Ellroy's terrifying novel about corruption and crime among members of the LAPD in the 1950s. The hard-boiled detective story angle is brought to life so beautifully, mostly because Jeannine Claudia Oppewall's production design recreates the dark underside of the 50s to such perfection that not even a Coke bottle label is missed. Add to that Dante Spinotti's stunning lighting that rides the fine line between artistic and believable comfortably (as all period camerawork should), Ruth Myers' costume designing and a script by Hanson and The Postman scribe Brian Helgeland (I know, I don't get it either) that pares down Ellroy's mammoth plot about a multiple murder in a local diner involving a policeman with suspicious ties without sacrificing the density of the story or the spiderweb of events involved with it, and you have the best movie of 1997, not to mention the most fascinating detective film ever made since Orson Welles' Touch of Evil. The cast is all brilliant, most notably Kim Basinger as a wordly prostitute who has not only a heart of gold but a mind of steel--Basinger is so strong in her character's every nuance you'll find yourself forgetting she's even acting--and Kevin Spacey as a Dean Martin-esque detective who not only solves an important part of the puzzle, he even discovers he possesses a soul beneath his flashy suits. I just can't get enough of this film.

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60 out of 69 people found the following review useful:

A fascinating look at life in the big city

8/10
Author: hall895 from New Jersey
19 August 2005

Give a collection of great actors a great story to work with and you are likely to end up with something rather special. Such is the case with L.A. Confidential. The boldface names jump off the page...Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, James Cromwell and, in his first big-time role, Guy Pearce. And none of these big names are just mailing it in, here to collect a paycheck. They're all on top of their games, undoubtedly helped to no small extent by the wonderfully nuanced and utterly intriguing story.

This story takes place in 1950s Los Angeles but this is a side of L.A. most people don't get to see. Behind all the Hollywood glamour L.A. has a seamy side which will be the focus of this tale. At the heart of the movie are three cops who ostensibly are supposed to be working together but who go about the business of dispensing justice in very different ways. Crowe plays aggressive hothead Bud White. Spacey is Jack Vincennes, who takes more pride in his work as an adviser on a popular television cop drama than he does in his actual police work. And Pearce plays Edmund Exley, a young up-and-comer in the department who plays things by the book. As we will soon see Exley is rather unique in an LAPD which believes in doing whatever is necessary to bring the guilty to justice. Even if it means becoming a little guilty themselves.

The movie really begins to move forward with a massacre at a coffee shop. It seems a pretty cut and dried case but initial appearances can be deceiving. Soon White, Vincennes and Exley will find themselves caught up in a maze of lies, deception and mystery. It will be a great test for these very different men as it appears they may well need each other's unique talents to solve this puzzle. And quite the elaborate puzzle it is. One important piece is Lynn Bracken, a high class call girl played by Basinger. Tying together many of this complex story's strands is gossip writer Sid Hudgens who is played with appropriate sleaziness by DeVito. And in the background the whole time is the somewhat mysterious Captain Dudley Smith, played by Cromwell. Here is a man who believes in bringing the guilty to justice by any means necessary. That's all well and good if you know who the guilty are but in L.A. Confidential you're never quite sure who to believe. The viewer is guessing right along with the investigators on the screen. And in the end it all comes together and pays off brilliantly.

L.A. Confidential is first and foremost a great story, with many fascinating twists and turns along the way. The film also serves as a showcase for some of this generation's finest acting talents. Each of the main characters is wonderfully unique and each of the actors involved does a terrific job in bringing those characters to life. These are complex characters in a complex tale. It's so involved that the acting had to be stellar if this film was going to work and none of the stars disappoint. Terrific storytelling brought to life by a collection of inspired performances makes L.A. Confidential an absolute winner.

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