L.A. Confidential (1997)
Director: Curtis Hanson
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, James Cromwell, Danny DeVito
Plot: A shooting at an all night diner is investigated by three LA policemen in their own unique ways.
Genre: Crime / Mystery / Thriller
Awards: Won 2 Oscars - Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay. Nom. for 7 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score, Best Sound. Nom. for Palme d'Or (Cannes).
Rating: M18 for strong violence, profanity, sexuality, and drug use.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
L.A Confidential is unlike anything Hollywood has produced in recent years. It's bold and stylish, yet in retrospect, it's able to hold on to traditional film values that are rarely observed in today's money-stealing business Hollywood is culpable of.
Curtis Hanson's Oscar-winning crime drama is a nostalgic trip into the heart of the 1950s suburban America, providing an intricate backdrop to a striking story conceived by Hanson and Brian Helgeland, based on a novel by James Ellroy.
L.A Confidential works effectively as a powerful motion picture because of two main reasons: the cast and the editing. Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, and Kim Basinger all give highly-distinguished individual performances while possessing the ability to combine flawlessly as an outfit.
The editing is noteworthy, fully utilizing Jerry Goldsmith's evocative score to heighten intrigue and tension. The film itself moves very quickly, yet it doesn't ignore its viewers, letting us discover for ourselves the many layers of shocking twists and turns that are intelligently plotted by the screenwriters.
Another strength of L.A Confidential is the atmosphere. The mood and photography reflect unsettling times, while at the same time capturing the allure of Los Angeles decades ago. The film stock used is grainy, often in subdued colors - an excellent example of a modern film noir.
L.A Confidential spins its tale without a wasteful scene; it goes to show that Hollywood productions need not be high-budget special effects extravaganzas. But most importantly it shows that Hollywood can make great films if they really want to.
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