Anthony's Film Review
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Overall, this adaptation of a crime story is not too bad...
The movie L.A. Confidential is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by James Ellroy. It's a crime story set in the city of Los Angeles, and Ellroy is certainly not the only writer to produce stories of this genre and this setting. There have been many L.A. crime stories written by various authors, a trend that seemed to have started in the late 1930s with novelist Raymond Chandler. Now, of course, this is not a book review but a film review. The only reason I mention this is because I have read a few such stories, though not Ellroy's works, before seeing L.A. Confidential. The movie looked like something I would enjoy.
It certainly started out that way. The main characters are three L.A. cops: Kevin Spacey as Jack Vincennes, Guy Pearce as Ed Exley, and Russell Crowe as Bud White. Each of the protagonists exhibit, to a certain extent, unique characteristics. I particularly remember White as the hotheaded one, especially with a scene where he viciously points a gun in a black man's mouth, as well as Exley's honorable persona, particularly in the later part of the movie. Three other characters have important roles: Danny DeVito as tabloid reporter Sid Hudgens, Kim Basinger as a prostitute named Lynn Bracken, and James Cromwell as LAPD Captain Dudley Smith.
As for the plot, it stems from a murder at a diner. All I will say is that, from there, a complicated web of events takes place. I refer to the plot as a web of events and not a chain of events because of how the pieces of the story are connected. Each one is not connected to only one other detail. This is one of those movies that requires plenty of attention in order to appreciate the intricacy of the story. I admit that I was somewhat lost when I first saw the movie, but I can still admire the filmmakers' efforts to present something unique.
A story set in Los Angeles should have elements associated with this big city. L.A. Confidential certainly delivers a lot of what makes the City of Angels is known for. Expect to see police corruption, prostitution, tabloid journalism, racism, drugs, murder, and other subject matter covered in the story. It's a story that follows a central plot but attempts to cover a lot of ground at once. It's not one of those crime stories that narrowly focuses on one thing or two. Whether you like the movie may depend on how complex you like your stories.
L.A. Confidential is one of those movies that seems, in my opinion, overrated. In other words, the mass majority of critics and audiences have fallen in love with this movie, and it has won many awards, including two Academy Awards (Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay), but for me, it's just simply a good film. Nothing more. Of course, I could learn to enjoy it more with multiple viewings, and I definitely think it's possible. Still, I maintain that L.A. Confidential is at least worth seeing to some extent. How much you'll ultimately like it is up to you.
For more information about L.A. Confidential, visit the Internet Movie Database.