1950's Los Angeles is the seedy backdrop for this intricate noir-ish tale of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Three very different cops are all after the truth, each in their own style: Ed Exley, the golden boy of the police force, willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out; Bud White, ready to break the rules to seek justice, but barely able to keep his raging violence under control; and Jack Vincennes, always looking for celebrity and a quick buck until his conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. crime.Written by
Greg Bole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Before filming began, Curtis Hanson brought Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce to Los Angeles for two months to immerse them in the city and the time period. He also brought them dialect coaches and introduced them to real-life cops. See more »
The film is set in 1953, but the TV in the house where Inez Soto is being kept is a 1955 RCA Victor model 521. See more »
Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are wide and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap. Every working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a happy, all-American family. You can have all this, and who knows... you could even be discovered, become a movie star... or at least see one. Life is good in Los Angeles... it's paradise on Earth." Ha ha ha ha. That's what they ...
See more »
Characters from the movie were incorporated into period stock footage shown during the credits See more »
In the Hong Kong television version, during the scene where Bud breaks into the interrogation room, the part where he removes all the bullets from the gun but one is removed for some reason. So it cuts straight from his coming into the room and then sticking the gun into the rapist's mouth without giving it a Russian roulette feel. See more »
Simply a wonderful film that respects it's audience
In the gritty LA of the 1950's, stardom is the boom industry and all is about appearance and visual image. However under the surface drug use is rife, prostitution is rampant and the police officers are violent thugs. In the middle of this are three officers with different aims. Ed Exley is an ambitious young officer who will do anything to climb the ranks, Bud White is a muscle man and gets the job done while Jack Vincennes is only concerned with celebrity busts and getting his face in the paper. When the three come together on a coffee shop killing that brings in elements of cases they are following they solve it together. However each has suspicions that something is not right.
I'm sorry to say that I didn't pick up on this at the cinema and it wasn't until the Oscars brought it to my attention that I first saw it. Since then I have seen it several times and have enjoyed it every time. The plot is slightly complex (although maybe not by the genre's standards) and it isn't simplified for the audiences sake it respects the audience enough to trust us to keep up with it's pace. The film is split into three strands dictated by the characters, they are not quite distinct but are mostly intertwined the whole way through coming together in the final hour to great effect.
The pace of the telling is great; it has moments of drama, of tension and great action. Hanson has done a great job with the direction, he has a great sense of place and time to his 50's Hollywood whether it be the stars' lives or the black suburbs but he directs each scene with a sense of tension and urgency that the material deserves. The final twist is OK if not great but it is more the telling of the story that is enjoyable, not just the denouncement.
The casting did a great job of getting growth names and established qualities but no one huge star who could dominate the film. It is the Australian stars that stand out here. Pearce is excellent with a subtly changing character but it is Crowe that sticks in the memory with a very strong character and a performance to match. Spacey is as quality as he ever is (or at least, was for a few years either side of this film) and the support cast is as good with De Vito, Basinger, Cromwell, Rifkin, Strathairn and Guilfoyle.
There is nothing I really dislike about this film. The longer than average running time is not a problem as it easily fills it without dragging at any point. The film oozes class and has a great tough plot from Ellroy where nothing is as simple as right/wrong and everything comes together at the end. A real classy film with brains and brawn which continues to be one of my favourites of recent years.
19 of 27 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this