Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
4.68

Awesome80.21%
Worth A Look: 13.02%
Just Average: 1.56%
Pretty Crappy: 5.21%
Sucks: 0%

11 reviews, 126 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Fortress, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

MFA by Jay Seaver

You Only Live Once by Jay Seaver

November (2017) by Jay Seaver

Friendly Beast by Jay Seaver

Foreigner, The (2017) by Jay Seaver

Tom of Finland by Rob Gonsalves

Happy Death Day by Jay Seaver

78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene by Jay Seaver

Death Note: Light Up the New World by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


L.A. Confidential
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"Solid, hard-driving entertainment."
5 stars

Los Angeles in the early '50s -- the world of the dazzling 'L.A. Confidential' -- is a well-lit place of darkness. "The sun shines bright," we're told at the beginning, and even the night is sliced open by spotlights and tabloid flashbulbs.

This is the L.A. of James Ellroy's "bad white men," the brutes and killers driven by ambition and obsession. Are they cops or mobsters? What's the difference? L.A. Confidential is part of Ellroy's brilliant "L.A. Quartet," an alternative gutter history of America mixing sensational fact and corrosive fiction. Except for a couple of easily overlooked movie-ish speeches and alterations, the new film adaptation does full justice to the moral complexity and compulsive sin of Ellroy's universe. It may just be the movie of the year.

The closest thing to a hero is Bud White (Russell Crowe), a dim and brutal cop who likes to kick the crap out of wife-beaters. Bud's willingness to use excessive force has made him both admired and feared in his department. Bud's opposite number is Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), a shrewd and virtuous young cop who believes in integrity and non-violence. Ed also believes in advancement, and isn't above snitching on fellow cops to nab a Detective Lieutenant spot. Somewhere in the middle is Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), a cop who acts as technical advisor to the popular cop show Badge of Honor and has a standing deal with tabloid vulture Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito) to get himself ink and glory.

Ellroy's cops are haunted by erotic and psychological demons that drive them far more than any ideal of justice. The film, directed by Curtis Hanson (The River Wild) from a script he wrote with Brian Helgeland (Conspiracy Theory), distills Ellroy's epic into a compact drama that sketches in the motives that Ellroy plumbed in depth. Gone, for example, are Jack's addiction to violent porn and Ed's romance with a rape victim, whose adulation of the brutal Bud compels Ed to prove his manhood and earn the nickname "Shotgun Ed."

What's left of Ellroy's story is still so dense that I barely have room to touch on it. A massacre at the Nite Owl Diner leaves six people dead, among them a dirty cop. Ed takes the case, and Jack and Bud flit around the criminal margins of L.A., sniffing after vague scents of corruption. A ritzy call-girl ring of movie-star lookalikes (including Kim Basinger as a Veronica Lake hooker) is involved, as well as Mickey Cohen and heroin and pornography and male hustlers. Yet all of this is easy to follow; the filmmakers have boiled the story down to its bare, punchy essentials. Several moments are stunningly violent, especially the death of a major character (significantly changed from the book).

I regret a few Hollywood touches -- one of which is Ellroy's. Ed's speech about the death of his cop father is meant to set up a later revelation, but it rings false anyway. The ending, which gives one of the men a happily-ever-after exit with Kim Basinger, is right from the novel; it smacked of wishful thinking there, too.

But overall this is a great achievement. Masterfully acted across the board (Australian actors Crowe and Pearce deserve the stardom they're about to get), 'L.A. Confidential' is dizzying and powerful. James Ellroy is justifiably proud of it, and Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland should be, too.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=96&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/20/07 15:30:39
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell compelling well acted film 4 stars
3/31/16 Aj wales Pearce better than crowe here. Great movie. 5 stars
5/21/15 David Hollingsworth Best film of 1997, better than Titanic 5 stars
5/16/14 Matthew Thompson What Danielsan said 5 stars
1/09/14 Danielsan One of the greatest movies ever made! 5 stars
7/07/13 Monday Morning Roo's review and 2-star rating shows that he (or she) is a fucking idiot. 5 stars
6/18/11 randy todger amazing film with incredible performances.miss stress go suck a cock stupid cow! 5 stars
1/30/11 brian Spellbinding. 5 stars
7/23/10 bagwell5 This movie, not " Titanic " , should have won Best Picture for 1997. 5 stars
4/17/10 PAUL SHORTT COMPELLING THRILLER WITH GREAT PERFORMANCES 4 stars
4/02/09 Dane Youssef On par with "The Maltese Falcon, "Chinatown," "Murder, My Sweet" and "Double Indemity." 5 stars
3/10/09 brian Definitely better than Chinatown. 5 stars
1/14/09 FrankNFurter Violent, cynical, and spectacular neo-noir masterpiece.A must-see for all film buffs. 5 stars
11/27/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
11/17/08 killer mindblowing cinema 5 stars
10/18/07 MP Bartley Glorious, glorious entertainment. Shoulda swept the Oscar board that year... 5 stars
5/05/07 R.W.Welch Overblown shootout takes the edge off an otherwise impressive effort. 4 stars
4/21/07 Chris Redmond The real stars were Crowe, Pearce and Cromwell, not Basinger. 5 stars
3/31/07 fools♫gold Thetypeofending KissKissBangBang madefunof, but the twist here is that it's the prfct one! 5 stars
1/17/07 Sepi53 great film noir movie 5 stars
6/04/06 Thomas BETTER THAN CHINATOWN 5 stars
2/13/06 ronald fascinating cinema.Come on Hanson and make more films like this 5 stars
2/10/06 Seanboy One of the best movies ever, Crowe, Spacey and Pearce should've been thanking the academy 5 stars
8/11/05 ES yes sir excellent crime drama, sweet twist 5 stars
5/07/05 Bluto Loved it, powerhouse ensemble cast 5 stars
2/27/05 Jeanne This film gets better each time I see it! 5 stars
1/10/05 keithers.. amazing film...Crowe is perfect in his role 5 stars
12/22/04 Vince Atmosphere reminded me of Chinatown... only this was better! 5 stars
9/25/04 Tor Honolulu Great but if there ever was it was a wasted Oscar, it was given to Kim for this 5 stars
7/15/04 eris One of my faves. 5 stars
4/29/04 Doan AWESOME MOVIE 5 stars
4/19/04 coreyhaim Uniformly excellent filmmaking. Crowe, Basinger and Spacey are brilliant. 5 stars
4/09/04 IP Freeley Michael Mungin was upset cause he didn't see Crowe's penis...this is a great movie shithead 5 stars
3/26/04 Gretchen good story, disappointing ending 4 stars
3/20/04 Peter A really good film with good twists and atmosphere 4 stars
3/17/04 kandy howman great movie 5 stars
3/16/04 Alfred Guy A gripping movie. Good characters AND gunplay! 5 stars
3/10/04 Charles Tatum A classic piece of film making...until the most disappointing ending in recent memory 4 stars
3/02/04 Michael Mungin Russell Crowe makes me snore. So does Kim Basinger. 3 stars
2/27/04 Despot This was a great adaption of Ellroy's work. This film has never recieved enough credit. 4 stars
2/25/04 susan lee I agree .. this movie was way better than titanic .. 5 stars
2/24/04 Jack Sommersby An instant classic that's (almost) as good as it gets. Top-notch work all around. 5 stars
2/23/04 y2mckay Fantastic movie - great perfs from Pearce, Spacey, and Crowe before they all sold out 5 stars
11/29/03 john best crime story with the worst unreal happy ending ever attached to a otherwise great film 4 stars
8/29/03 AD perfect 5 stars
5/18/03 George Jung This movie is a modern classic. Everything about this movie was perfect. 5 stars
3/20/03 GMan Mmm. Good. Russell Crowe before he become RUSSELL CROWE, HOLLYWOOD BADBOY SHIT ROCK SINGER. 5 stars
1/23/03 fjff A flawless film. A rarity in this day and age. Definitely worth the time and the money. 5 stars
1/22/03 Artist Freak Great ensemble cast , storyline, photography, details galore, loved it loved it loved it. 5 stars
1/05/03 Monster W. Kung IP Freely, go fuck your dog and blow your cat, you fucking idiot. 4 stars
12/16/02 IP Freely Roo, Forrest Gump called, he said he doesn't want his IQ back. This movie rocks! 5 stars
11/15/02 Catherine Doherty Top marks for evertyhing, except that it is marred by that improbable shootout at the end. 5 stars
8/15/02 Scott great, one of the best flicks ive seen in a long time 5 stars
7/23/02 erick tis a downright shame this lost to titanic... i mean for christs sake, titanic 5 stars
7/11/02 Emily Torrisi Terriffic! The best film in years. 5 stars
7/10/02 Mina Best in years: intro of Guy Pearce, details of the 40s great; loss of Oscar to Titanic!! 5 stars
6/24/02 Phil M. Aficionado Excellent but not truly great as the plot became far-fetched with over the top action. and 4 stars
6/06/02 I'm i (L) with a Jedi sweet! corrupt cops shit me up da wall!!! 5 stars
5/17/02 Kat Balue Basinger aside, superb acting, atmosphere, writing 5 stars
4/03/02 Edfink Lombardo Spacey, Pearce, and Crowe are excellent...Brilliantly conceived and brilliantly written 5 stars
3/15/02 Artist Freak The only worthy film noir movie since Chinatown. 5 stars
3/09/02 Rebecca thrilling, great period piece 5 stars
2/24/02 Butterbean This is where I fell in love with Russel Crowe. The entire cast and story is the best 5 stars
10/01/01 Phoenix I loved this movie. It's one of the best movies of the 90s. 5 stars
8/15/01 Henry Ginsberg Very commpeling,but a bit to improbable. 4 stars
8/08/01 E-Funk It is so seldom we have a chance to see a movie this good. Flawless. 5 stars
7/19/01 Reini Urban maßlos überschätzt 2 stars
6/15/01 Melissa in NYC Goes to show that Academy Award voters are hacks. This is hands-down the Best Film of '97. 5 stars
6/14/01 Bada Bing Crosby Basinger aside, this is a great movie 5 stars
5/04/01 fifu awsome plot twist one of crowes best 5 stars
4/15/01 LiL Fantastic thriller who has you really clued in all way round 5 stars
4/01/01 Al amazing! 5 stars
3/27/01 Rampage it was fantastic!! 5 stars
3/16/01 Artist Freak Can't say enough good about it. Dense,smooth,brutal,intelligent. Epic noir detective movie. 5 stars
1/19/01 Ground Zero should have won a award for best movie, no thanks to that Titanic pissant 5 stars
12/21/00 stovall222 great plot, superb acting, Crowe intensly real. 5 stars
11/26/00 The Evil Penguin One of the best of Crime Drama. I wish Titanic never stole their OSCARS. 4 stars
10/17/00 Dan Explosive dialogue and dark characterisation - a masterpiece. 5 stars
9/09/00 perverted pixie A sharp, but slightly stiff flick. Pearce and Crow are magnetic performers. 4 stars
9/02/00 Ben How shit like Titanic and English Patient win Oscars & this gets hardly any is beyond me. 5 stars
8/23/00 cadroy gorgeous film-noir!check it out!!! 5 stars
7/17/00 Sissy DAAAAMMMNN that Russell Crowe is a fucking hottie! Awesome movie! 5 stars
7/09/00 Andrew J. Just watched it again today on DVD. Even better this time. 5 stars
7/05/00 Chris Drake Rare: the movie is better than the book--confusing so watch it at least twice 4 stars
6/24/00 Naushad Khanji Sketchy story.Lacks Rhythm.Often strays too far from main plot. 2 stars
5/02/00 lucas jackson a classic when it came out in the theatre 5 stars
4/26/00 verbalgirl This film was ROBBED at the Oscars. 5 stars
4/05/00 PJ Man oh Man This movie is the best Film Noir since Chinatown Brilliant, performances great. 5 stars
4/04/00 MissBeBop Brilliant 5 stars
3/12/00 Scary Joe damn fine stuff 5 stars
2/15/00 Neil Austin Nice to know Hollywood can do subtle 5 stars
1/29/00 Ami the Wonderbread Bought it on a whim in Michigan while at camp, loved every minute! 5 stars
11/06/99 Anthony Ellis The best film to come out of Hollywood in years. One of the best films of all-time. 5 stars
10/29/99 Bozo Male actors were amazing; Kim can't act (no wonder she won the Oscar) 4 stars
10/19/99 Lame-Oh A brilliant masterpiece, DeVito rocks! 5 stars
9/28/99 Glitter Berry Best Film of '97. Kim Basinger is awesome 5 stars
8/19/99 Japtalian And ya still don't believe O.J. could have been set up? 4 stars
8/02/99 Weird Andy This was the best big studio flick I had seen in many, moons. Read the book. Ellroy rules 5 stars
5/06/99 Lucas Jackson This was a fucking great mystery full of suspense and action,it was fucking outstanding 5 stars
4/14/99 Jon Jackson ...Wow... 5 stars
3/21/99 A. M. Good, but loaded with Hollywood formula thrash. Could have been better. 4 stars
3/13/99 Viral Messiah Totally awesome! Up yours, pussies! 5 stars
3/12/99 Ah Dooey Hehehe. Good cop, bad cop, what's the difference? 5 stars
2/18/99 Piz Basinger a bit overhyped but a great story with convincing actors 5 stars
2/01/99 Matthew Bartley Greatest Hollywood crime film ever? Damn right 5 stars
1/16/99 Dan Miller Kick ASS!! Fuck YA!!! 5 stars
1/11/99 I.P. Freeley Two words: goddam awesome! 5 stars
1/02/99 Dasha I would give it 6 stars if it was possible. Magnificent, just magnificent. 5 stars
1/02/99 val excellent!! unexpected plot twists-eureka! hollywood made a movie for intellegent viewers! 5 stars
12/03/98 Matthew J. Soucy FAR AND AWAY THE BEST PICTURE OF 1997. CURTIS HANSON IS A WIZARD! 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Everyone's faults in the careers of the cast and crew are forgiven..... 5 stars
11/23/98 Lord Of The Dunce A seriously well acted, seriously well directed noir thriller. Bassinger wasn't all that. 5 stars
11/12/98 Jules Movies suck so bad lately people actually thought this film was great... 3 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob Modifications aside, this is one hell of a great adaptation of a great story! 5 stars
10/23/98 Timmy C Wow...a film that actually lived up to the novel. 5 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo Quite simply one of the better 1% of movies you'll see. 5 stars
10/12/98 joseph agree with goofball-spacey is always good--best supporting actress-NO 2 stars
9/23/98 Nate Dogg The movie kicked ass...Kim Basinger is a fuckin' hack though....she sucks dick (ask Prince) 4 stars
9/09/98 Miss Stress i'm sorry, it was so boring i feel asleep 2 stars
9/05/98 BBReBozo Incredible. Unfortunately we'll see copy-cats. 5 stars
9/05/98 Kid Pee-Pee The aussie actors kicked major ass, but I didn't think Spacey pulled it off. 4 stars
9/03/98 Badass I love this movie. One of the very best screenplays ever written. 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball I guess I was alone in thinking this was kind of trying too hard. Pearce was good. 3 stars
8/15/98 Johny With the Best of '97 5 stars
8/14/98 Pete I loved it. Well written, Crowe kicked a ton of bootay. 5 stars
8/14/98 {{{OZ}}} A fine piece of film noir. Sometimes stretched but all up a screamer. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  19-Sep-1997 (R)
  DVD: 07-Jun-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  30-Oct-1997 (M)




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast