Our recommendation on what to watch this weekend is LA Confidential (1997). The film is one of the best movies of the 1990’s of any genre. It chronicles a group of LAPD officers in the 1950’s and the corruption they find themselves in the middle of. The movie is a fantastic story from the mind of the great crime writer James Ellroy. The prolific author has written more than 20 books, 8 of which have been turned into films. LA Confidential is the best of the bunch. It is in the film-noir style and incorporates Ellroy’s distinctive writing style into the dialogue.
The plot is a mystery involving murders, celebrity, and corrupt cops. Unexpected twists and well hidden conspiracies make this a true thriller. It is one of those rare films that can keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing the first time you see it, while still being a great movie to watch the second and third times.
The cast and character development is really first rate. You get the feeling that you have worked with this group of cops before. The media hound and celebrity obsessed Detective Jack Vincennes is played by Kevin Spacey. We all know this guy, fighting crime takes a back seat to his next free meal or off duty gig. He gets more pleasure out of seeing his name in the paper than solving a big case.
The highly motivated and ruthless Lt. Ed Exley is played by Guy Pearce. Exley wants to get ahead in the LAPD. The fact that he is not necessarily qualified is immaterial. He is straight laced and by the book but will through anyone under the bus to get ahead.
The reliable Detective Bud White is played by Russell Crowe. White can usually be counted on to go along with the program and solve cases. He hates perps and will do whatever is necessary and whatever the boss wants. His fists are usually his first problem solving tool. He is the kind of guy that will charge through a wall to get the job done, but maybe should have checked the door first.
All three have strengths and flaws. How they overcome their innate personality traits to try to solve the murder and corruption ring truly creates the drama in the movie. Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, and James Cromwell are great in support as well.
The director, Curtis Hanson, and screenwriter, Brian Helgeland, do a great job at intertwining these three cop’s lives. They bring together the multiple storylines and turn them into a great movie. Hanson doesn’t throw the movie in your face. There are nuances that you will catch the second and third time around.
The movie also has a great feel for 1950’s LA and LAPD. The suits, the cars, the locations, and the cop gear all have an authentic look. The jargon seem spot on and the old LAPD really seems to come through.
The film can be streamed for free on Starz Network or rented on AppleTV, Vidu, or Redbox. Check out justwatch.com for more info.
Thanks for tuning in this week. Keep this review off the record, on the QT, and very hush hush.