“L.A. Confidential” is one crime-drama film that enliven the 1998’s Academy Awards Best Picture competition. Lost to “Titanic”, it’s then known as one of the best police detective story of all time. Adapted from James Ellroy’s novel, “L.A. Confidential” was then brought to screen by director Curtis Hanson who also brought this year’s “Chasing Mavericks”. Well, I thought that “L.A Confidential” would be as boring as other similar films. Did it go so?
Set in 1950s, “L.A. Confidential” was started with a description of how lovely, comfortable, and peaceful Los Angeles was. Then, we’ll be introduced with three cops from Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD): Ed Exley (played by Guy Pearce), a smart, dedicated cop who was considered to be the golden boy in the department; Wendell ‘Bud’ White (played by Russell Crowe), a quite reckless cop who would do anything, even break the rules, to seek justice; Jack Vincennes (played by Kevin Spacey), a show-off-y, easy-money cop who do a technical consultance for a TV programme about cop. These three guys then did his job to solve a crime in local coffee shop that also killed their partner.
“L.A. Confidential” is full of constabulary things. It talks a lot about police. We’ll be presented stuffs about how police department dealt with crime right from their own viewpoints. Some subplots from the internal substance were also added like how they deal with conflicts within their own teams, how they show their loyalty to the department, and how they build good friendship to each other. One of the most interesting part of “L.A. Confidential” is when they started to talk about the bureaucracy and function structure of a police department. Moreover, “L.A. Confidential” covered a broader topic, starting from a city police department as a law enforcement function to its connection with local developing industries, medias, and local people. “L.A. Confidential” concluded them in a very precise, sharp, and brief way.
Compared to other crime-police film, I think “L.A. Confidential” was quite easier to understand. Well, of course you need to always keep track of the plot, but the dialogue was light and clear enough that you don’t need to remember every line of the dialogues and every scene to get the whole plot. It’s an easy-to-tell story. Maybe “L.A. Confidential” was also less boring to other films with similar topic. It’s always full of curiosity after each scene and you’ll be provoked to wonder what will happen next. It’s a nice achievement from the screenplay. Talking about the cast, I don’t think that “L.A. Confidential” wrapped a good ensemble cast. I just love to see them individually. I like seeing how Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce played their role. They were incredible, they put their own charisma to their characters so that they could show who they are without even talking. For me, Kim Basinger (playing Lynn Bracken, a call girl who made up to imitate actress Veronica Lake) was quite overrated. I don’t know, I think her acting was just too plain to grant her an Oscar. Maybe there’s a connection about this to Veronica Lake, whom her role portrayed to be, but that’s just my guess.
For a future public servant like me, I don’t know that “L.A. Confidential” could be this inspiring. There’s a lot of moral value you can absorb from this movie, especially about integrity, politics, and power. It left me an open end that seems clear but contains deep thought and inspiration. The screenplay was beautiful and mesmerizing for such a hard-boiled detective story. A twist in the middle part was soft, but interesting. If you like detective films, you should see it. Truly, one of the best detective-police film I've ever seen.
▲ Great screenplay, thought-provoking topic
▼ Not a good ensemble cast
L.A. CONFIDENTIAL | COUNTRY USA YEAR 1997 RATING Rated R for strong violence and language, and for sexuality GENRE Crime, Drama, Mystery RUNTIME 138 min CAST Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito WRITER James Ellroy (novel "L.A. Confidential"), Brian Helgeland (screenplay), Curtis Hanson (screenplay) DIRECTOR Curtis Hanson IMDB RATING 8.4/10 (Top #79) METACRITIC 90/100 (Universal Acclaim) ROTTEN TOMATOES 99% (Certified Fresh) MORE INFO