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L.A. Confidential
Academy Award® Winner
Set against the glamorous backdrop of 1950's Los Angeles, Sid Hudgeons is the sleazy reporter for the tabloid Hush-Hush who has always helped ferret out a scandal that Sid can mine for a potential...  View more >

Starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, James Cromwell...  View more >

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Reviews Summary

Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
L.A. Confidential gets an A from me. You know, I first thought "Another Mulholland Falls" when I saw the preview, but this is a rare case where the movie is actually much better than the preview. Part of that is that it's plot is too intertwined and complex to snip down to flashy sound-bites and a 60 second synopsis. Who does this movie appeal to? Anyone who wants to see the L.A.P.D. given the Usual Suspects treatment... or a movie that does for the L.A.P.D. what Goodfellas did for the New Jersey Mob. Who's great in it? Everybody, but especially Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey. (BTW, if seeing L.A. Confidential makes you want to see another great Russell Crowe movie, I'd recommend Romper Stomper, in which Crowe starred as a skinhead. Good stuff.) The plot is one of the most intricate I have seen in a very long time, and it is not until the last 15 minutes that many of the loose-threads coming back to tie themselves into a nice cohesive thread. (impressive that). I shouldn't say too much about the plot, but I will mention that "Rollo Tamasi" is the "Kaiser Soze" of 1997, hands down. Go see this movie.

Jan 25, 2000
Rating: EXCELLENT at any price. Truly Starring: Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, and Kim Basinger But Also Starring: a bunch of other guys wearing police uniforms

First of all...I loved it! I went into this film wondering how exciting can a film be about the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1950s...well, I walked out saying, this is a great film. Many people liken this film to "Usual Suspects" or "Pulp Fiction"...I guess I can see a touch of those films, but this is a film that doesn't need to be compared to others, for it definitely is unique in its own right. This is a story about cops in LA in the 50s. Cops who are idealistic, cops who take the law into their own hands, cops who are celebrities, and cops who live, eat and breath being a cop. This movie brings all these cops together into one large murder investigation and then sends them spinning off into a zillion different directions. What is this film...it is a crime drama, it is violent (but not a close-your-eyes and not look at the gore violent-type film), it is funny, it is thrilling, and it does make you jump. It also makes you take sides right away as to how you feel about certain cops. As an outside observer, you will find yourself liking a cop one minute only to think he is scum the next. Probably the saddest aspect of this film is that you leave with a negative feeling about the LA Police Department and how they deal with the public. No wait, you may have had that belief going in. Bottom line...this film is great. It's just too bad that we won't be seeing any positive LA Police Department movies for sometime....so Adam-12...guess a remake is out of the question right now.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
Finally, a movie that has the guts to be made a crime noir, and succeds in every respect. A massive, novel like opus, "L.A. Confidential" is like a warning call to every blockbuster this year: watch movies like this, and you will remember the fading joy of going to the movies. All this year I have warned you, the reader, to take the high road and see movies that are fresh and original, including some blockbuster movies that actually work. When "L.A Confidential" is playing right next door to "Fire Down Below", you have a pretty good idea what I urge you to see.

"L.A. Confidential" is the tough tale of three L.A. Cops. The first, Sgt. Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), is a celebrity cop who serves as technical expert on a TV show and who likes to make media friendly arrests, by inviting them to tag along. The next is Bud White (Russell Crowe), a tough as nails cop who has been there, beat that, one of the cops that can successfully beat a confession out. Finally, there is Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), the by-the-book cop who will do anything to be among the ranks of the professionals. When a riot breaks in the prison, Exley will happily confess to the boys upstairs. This is a good sign of a man who wants to be a lieutenant, but questions arise about his respect towards other cops and in turn the cops despise him.

The plot, while slightly thin in respects to the beautifully drawn out characters, looks at the commotion surrounding a massacre at the Night Owl (the cafe looks a lot like the one in The Godfather), where many people were brutally slayed and left in the bathroom for dead. The investigation is massive; it goes on for a long time and there are so many layers you do not want to miss anything.

Directed by Curtis Hanson and adapted from James Ellroy's novel, "L.A. Confidential" is a long awaited film for people who are looking for a smart, detailed story. The movie also has a good deal of action, including the violent, wonderfully executed finale that is very intese, as is the story, which will always keep you interested and guessing. It's about time you give up your tickets for "Men In Black" and focus on spending your money wisely. For a real movie.

Grade: A

Tech Review:

Picture: 3 An OK picture, could have improved in the color department. Good blacks, but contrast is a little off

Sound: 4 Although there isn't really a lot to expect out a movie like this, there were some really good split surrounds in Dolby Digital. Included are slight miniscule sounds of people running around and papers getting crunched. All three sound formats are available, but not noted.

Photography: 5 Shot in Super 35, the format for every director who does not want to shoot in Panavision, because you get an easier to transfer video. Hanson's widescreen photography is excellent, full of wide angles and two shots. Great.

Length: 138 min. Rated R for violence and language and brief nudity. Feel free to send any comments or questions to jwhyte2@hotmail.com

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
Deserves an Oscar nod.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
L.A Confindential outweighs the competition, including Titanic as the best of the year. The story line and performances were truly rememberal. Russel Crowe did an outstanding job as the "tough guy". Other memerable rolls were from Kim Basinger, Danny Devito, James Cromwell, and Kevin Spacey. I truly recommendthis film, be careful, there is alot of violence to those offended easily.

[--- Wait for Rental ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
Nothing about "L.A" requires a big screen or super sound system to enjoy. It IS clever crime drama and is well worth seeing. Great performances by Spacey, DeVito and Bassinger spark up a twisty tale of corruption and deceit. Good cop-bad cop is ALWAYS an enticing plot to put to film, and this one does it masterfully. The good cop-bad cop line is actually IN the movie. Viewers will be trying to keep everything straight throughout the film. Lots of character names are tossed around, and even as the film ends, the viewer may sit in his seat and try to make sure that ALL the names have been laid to rest in the plot.

It doesn't rate with the special effects of Titanic, or the soul wrenching of Good Will Hunting, yet it's not hard to see why it is a nominee for an academy award as best picture. So far, my vote is for Good Will.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
L.A. Confidential *****

This movie is a very interesting one. It makes you not want to get up and take a pee. The acting and everything else is good. It should have gotten Best pic.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
L.A. Confidential (1997). Dir: Curtis Hanson. Starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger(Best Supporting Actress Oscar).

One of the best films of the year! A must see film for those of you who liked Chinatown (1974), which starred Jack Nicholson. It's all about police corruption, freedom of the press, Hollywood, etc...an excellent film. Kim Basinger is HOT - enough said.

[--- Good ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
LA Confidential was good, although I was disappointed with Kim Basinger's "oscar worthy" performance. The plot is rather complicated and somtimes hard to follow, but that does not take away from the quality of this movie. Kevin Spacey was great in his role as Jack Vincennes. If you like shoot 'em up cop movies with a lot of blood and gore and believe it or not a pretty decent plot, go see LA Confidential.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
Even though the critics endlessly raved about this movie, it was still perhaps the most underrated movie of 1997. Flawless -- and I mean FLAWLESS -- noir period piece, a truly remarkable throwback.

Speaking of underrated, a word or two about Kevin Spacey. Although he doesn't necessarily "make this film," he does play the most pivotal role and is essentially the glue that holds this film together. He never seems to get the credit due him -- I am yet to see him in a bad role. Give this man an Oscar, pronto!

And as for Kim Basinger: I was extremely skeptical when they handed her that Oscar, not having seen the movie, because she single-handedly seems to ruin every movie I've seen her in (prime example: "Batman"). However, she was every bit as good as the hype, as was the rest of the movie. It's a shame, even though I must admit "Titanic" was the most well-produced and the most technologically superior movie ever made, it's still a shame that L. A. Confidential didn't get the nod for best picture, because all in all, it most likely WAS the best film of year.

I know that this film may be out for rental now, but it really makes for a great big-screen experience. Many of the sequences require the full 2.35 to 1 ratio of the screen, and it just isn't going to be the same in the "cram and scam" home video version. So if you can get to a theater that is still showing it, go for it!

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
LA Confidential (1997) Viewing Response

More violent than I thought it would be, but less dark. In the sense that "Chinatown" is a film noir, "LA Confidential" is a noir-lite.

Several actors give solid performances. Danny DeVito is laudably slimy as Sid Hutchins, owner of Hush-Hush magazine, a tabloid of the time. James Cromwell illustrates the superb versatility of the best character actors. As Captain Dudley Smith, he portrays the supreme hypocrite.

Kevin Spacey gives his character, Jack Vincennes, qualities that are both quiet and flamboyant, powerful and impotent. In the scene in which this vice officer utters the name "Rollo Tomasi," we witness one of the more resounding gimmicks of plotting in recent years.

Russell Crowe I am not familiar with. I look forward to seeing him in other films. His character, Bud White, has a compelling compassion for women, and is not afraid to use his muscle to punish males who abuse them. Crowe is an average-looking man, perfect for the role of average Joe-cop, a thug who obeys the bidding of his corrupt captain by beating on suspects. It is White's determination to go honest on the sly that sets off his character as dynamic. It also pulled down for him a nomination for Best Actor.

Kim Basinger really did deserve the Oscar for Supporting Actress. (There isn't another female among the main characters, so whom is she supporting?) It must be very difficult to play a prostitute, but her Lynn Bracken (great last name!) comes off as a very likable and decent woman; somehow Basinger freshens the stale air of cliché.

This is the only Best Picture nominee to be given even an outside chance of edging out "Titanic." It did not, of course, but it is certainly a strong, raw and realistic display of 1950's police work. It also serves as a political fable, a harbinger of the movement to fight corruption in big-city police departments. Watching "LA Confidential," we can see ahead to the atmosphere of worry and honesty enforced by citizens with camcorders.

Questions useful in Film Literature units:

1 Describe how the music helps to set the mood and perhaps even to tell the story.
2 How does Jack Vincennes collaborate with Hush-Hush magazine? How do Sid Hutchins and Hush-Hush serve as a motif?
3 List ways in which the police are portrayed as crooked.
4 According to Captain Smith, what does a cop need to be willing to do?
5 Name the subplots, and tell how they intertwine.
6 What are Exley's motives? How is he different from the average Los Angeles policeman?
7 Analyze Bud White's compassion for women. How does he justify his violent acts? What is the history behind them?
8 List ways in which Jack manipulates people - suspects, innocent people, the media, other police.
9 How is the film the story of a police force "coming clean"?
10 Who is Rollo Tomasi, and what role does he play in the investigation?
11 What is the purpose of Exley's "confession" in the interrogation room near the end?
12 As the Chief of Police and District Attorney listen to Exley in the "box," we see their reflections in the one-way window. Name other clever photographic moments.
13 Name puzzling and shocking twists in the plot.
14 Describe the qualities of Kim Basinger's performance that won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

[--- See Now! ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
L.A Confidential was nominated for 9 (!) Academy Awards this year, but it only won 2 of them, best supporting actress (Kim Basinger) and best script based on another story.

This is one hell of a great movie, it has it all, good actors (specially; Spacey, Crowe, Pierce and Cromwell), nice enviroment and great story (much better than the big hit Titanic).

This movie is a MUST SEE!!

One of the best movies ever made!

[--- Good ---]by  
Jan 25, 2000
Not a great movie - sorry other reviewers - but a good solid one. Something wrong with the story - maybe a little too flat. I've just finished watching Siskel & Ebert discussion of black and white films vs. color. Their take is that color makes everything too realistic; black & white films are more fantastic. I think this might have been better in black & white. Didn't a lot of critics class it as "film noir?"

May 6, 2003
\"LA Confidential\" is one of the best film about Los Angeles in 1953. The film is directed by Curtis Hanson who also cowrote the screenplay is a film about bad cops, good cops and the steamy newspaper which open up to the a side of LA very few people ever knew. The film is exciting to watch. A reporter,played by Danny DeVito, writes articles about the bad side of the city. The film has a strong cast which includes Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce as cops who on the oppiste side of the law in the police department. James Cromwell is the head of the police department, whom has more to hide from his fellow cops. Kim Basinger plays the woman in one of the cop\'s life. The cinematography is excellent. It capture the dark life of LA in the 1950\'s. This is a must see movie. This is the mocvie that is written smart, acted smart. I saw the movie three times. So I\'m saying you pass up \"LA Confidential,\" you missing noneless than one of the best crime drama in years. This is one excellent film that you shouldn\'t miss.
May 27, 2012
Jul 19, 2012

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