Social Icons

L.A. Confidential (1997)

Out of all the Russell Crowe films reviewed in this series (aside from Gladiator) I think it would be fair to say that L.A. Confidential would in general be one of Russell's more popular films especially with non-Crowe fans.  Bluntly put L.A. Confidential isn't a great film, it's quite possibly one of the greatest crime thrillers ever made.

L.A. Confidential focuses on the LAPD in the in the 1950's.  It's a decade where there existed a thin line between cops and criminals.  Some cops had there hands in the cookie jar, while others did whatever it took, legal or illegal to have true justice served against those who deserved it.  The film focuses mainly on three detectives;  Bud White (Russell Crowe) is the hothead, an incident in his childhood as given him a great disdain for those that mistreat women, and he's the man higher ups usually call in when they need information beat out of someone.  Ed Exley (Guy Pierce) is a young cop and the son of a legend who uses his brains and wits to get promoted to detective by means that makes him hated by the rest of the force.  And finally there is Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) a veteran detective who spends most of his time swapping information with the editor of Hush-Hush magazine by making a little side money for drug busts and publicity shots while moonlighting as the adviser to a television show called Badge of Honor.

The entire plot is around a shooting at an all night diner, one of the deaths being a former cop and partner of Bud White.  It's a case that could end up being young Ed Exley's big break, and soon all three detectives will discover that the completely different leads they are following all end up connecting to one person.  It's a case which involves a lot of key players even within the police department, who are willing to do anything to cover their tracks.  An intriguing story of corruption and the transformation of these three detectives who start off a little crooked and actually begin to grow as people through some trying ordeals as the realize the reason they became cops in the first place.

I really don't have much to say about L.A. Confidential other than the fact that it's simply a top notch film, and I think most people who've seen it probably would agree, making this is one of the few times I agree with the majority.  An all-star cast and a gripping, twisting story make this one of the best cop films I've ever seen, and it's one of the more realistic looks at what an organization such as the LAPD was probably like in the 1950's.  My only reason for not giving this film a perfect score is the story can be a bit confusing at times, as a lot of names are tossed into the mix of key players in the plot that it's sometimes keeps it all hard to follow.  Overall, L.A. Confidential is a must see film, it's Russell Crowe's first real breakthrough role in American cinema, and simply a great film alone.  It can be a little vulgar at times, and is definitely violent, so it goes without saying it's not a film for the kids, but for the more mature it's a film that will knock your socks off from beginning to end, especially the ending where everything starts to unravel.



  1. Loved it! My favorite movie of all-time. Superbly written, acted and directed and a masterpiece of the nineties. Odd that Guy Pearce never really broke through, sure he had Memento but that's about it...

  2. we're on the same page on this one - brilliant ensemble acting, tight script, superb direction - one of the best. interesting to me that you see the 'bit of confusion' that makes the story 'hard to follow' as a reason for not giving it a 10/10. isn't that what crime dramas/mysteries are about? what fun would it be if you figured everything out before the characters did on screen?
    but maybe you also feel you need to leave room for perfection from other films, too, so i'm not really arguing - just having a little fun!
    if you haven't seen guy pierce in 'priscilla, queen of the desert', add it to your list. it's a hoot!

  3. I have no problem with mystery, I just think the film threw too many characters into the mix, characters we see once yet they're mentioned again and you have to remember who they are and what was the point of them being in the story, or characters we never see that are mentioned more in passing by, gangsters that are dead or behind bars. I don't think all that was necessary, it clutters the story. That was my point, I didn't have a problem with the mystery though, I've seen the film before so nothing was a mystery to me, and still loved it.

  4. If you think there were too many characters in the movie, you should read the book! Actually, after reading the book (which I did some years after originally seeing this) I was even more enamored of this flick - they did a simply masterful job of adapting an unadaptable novel while still keeping the themes and characterization of 1950's L.A.

    This is one of my favorite movies, RC or no RC (although he's a big reason why it works) - it has it all: excellent performances, compelling characters, good story, great music. I stop and watch it whenever I happen across it on tv. It's a 10/10 for me!

  5. Yes this is an excellent film,great story and cast. My own discovery about films that really work,is that the film has energy that is contagious.This cast works so well together and they generate that energy I mentioned. There is a scene at the police station,when the cops bring in the Mexican-Americans and Spacey ,Pierce,etc; are exchanging information that just crackles and pops with energy.Great movie making.Russell's scenes with Kim Bassinger are sooo natural,just like butter.


Copyright 2008-2016. All posts & reviews are property of CommonSenseMovieReviews and should not be reproduced in whole, or in part, without express permission from the author.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...