L.A. Confidential is a 1997 American neo-noir crime film directed, produced, and co-written by Curtis Hanson. The screenplay by Hanson and Brian Helgeland is based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel of the same name, the third book in his L.A. Quartet series. The films follow the three LAPD detectives in 1953 Los Angeles, and the intersection of police corruption and Hollywood celebrity. L.A. Confidential was a major critical and commercial success; it grossed $126 million against a $35 million budget and received widespread acclaim from critics, with praise for the acting, writing, directing, scoring, and editing.
In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected L.A. Confidential for preservation in the National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". As of October 2020, a sequel to this film is in development, with Crowe and Pearce reprised their roles.
In 1953 Los Angeles, it 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.
Why It Rocks
- The story about 1950s detectives going through a corrupted Los Angeles to fight most of dark crime is very interesting.
- Likable and memorable characters, such as Jack Vincennes, and Wendell "Bud" White.
- The actors such as Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, and Guy Pearce gave fantastic performances as Jack Vincennes, Wendell "Bud" White, and Edmund "Ed" Exley.
- It feels a lot gritty and nearly realistic, for the most part.
- The pacing throughout the movie is well handled.
- Dudley Liam Smith is a great villain, he attempted to rise the criminal empire around the city of Los Angeles.
- The setting of early-1950s Los Angeles is well done, which fits very faithful in the 1950s era.
- Fantastic soundtrack that was performed by Jerry Goldsmith, with he composes many of early-50s themes with Jazz music.
- Awesome cinematography.
- It has good action sequences during the Cinemax, especially the final house battle with Dudley Liam Smith.
- The ending is great, with Exley shares a goodbye to Lynn and White before watching them drive off to Lynn's home in Arizona.
The film received critical acclaim and it holds an approval rating of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 8.8/10, with 114 out of 115 reviews being positive. The site's critical consensus reads: "Taut pacing, brilliantly dense writing, and Oscar-worthy acting combine to produce a smart, popcorn-friendly thrill ride." On Metacritic, it has a 90/100 based on 28 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars and described it as "seductive and beautiful, cynical and twisted, and one of the best films of the year." He later included it as one of his "Great Movies" and described it as "film noir, and so it is, but it is more: Unusually for a crime film, it deals with the psychology of the characters ... It contains all the elements of police action, but in a sharply clipped, more economical style; the action exists not for itself but to provide an arena for the personalities".
The film was a huge success during its theatrical run, as it grossed $126 million against a $35 million budget.
- Izabella Scorupco was offered the lead female role but turned it down.