Friday, October 14, 2011

LA Confidential (1997)



Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are wide and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap. Every working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a happy, all-American family. You can have all this, and who knows... you could even be discovered, become a movie star... or at least see one. Life is good in Los Angeles... it's paradise on Earth." Ha ha ha ha. That's what they tell you, anyway.”

            The first time I saw LA Confidential was years ago. I do not know what made me sit through this film or how I saw it but I can remember loving it. I loved it even before I loved old Hollywood. LA Confidential has a fantastic cast, a great mystery, and amazing direction and writing.
            Hollywood at this time was a tough place. Hollywood was still attracting the young and hopeful trying to make it in the movies but it was not all sweet and happy like the movies and advertisements depicted. The LAPD has their hands full with vice and crime cases every day. The film starts off around Christmas time. As Bud White (Russell Crow) and his partner Dick Stensland are on their way back to the station from getting drinks for an office party, Bud gets into it with a parole violator for beating his wife and he sees a woman who may have been beaten but she has not she has just gotten a nose job. Stensland just sits in the back and drinks.
            At the police station there is a new officer named Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) who is trying to prove himself and be the best cop on the force. The head detective Dudley Smith tells him that he will never go anywhere if he is not violent and willing to be corrupt to get the bad guy like the other officers. But Exley’s chance comes when there is a brawl between police officers and prisoners. A few officers including Stensland beat prisoners who were supposed to have hurt two other officers. The case is brought all the way to the top to the DA and the head of the department. The story has gotten out to the newspapers and the LAPD has been disgraced. Exley is brought in as a witness and he is willing to testify as a material witness in court. He also says that Stensland should be made an example of and kicked off the force and that Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) who was also involved in the fight should be pulled off a show he is the technical advisor for and work for vice. The DA and others agree that should happen and Exley is promoted to Detective Lieutenant.
            A few days after Exley is promoted, Stensland fired, and Jack demoted there is a homicide at a small café called The Night Owl. Stensland was one of the people murdered in what looks like a robbery gone wrong. The more Exley, White, and Vincennes dig into the case and things connected to it the more their lives become endangered. The case winds up dealing with very corrupt cops all the way up to the top, hookers made to look like famous actresses, and much, much more.
            The cast is awesome they were perfect in their roles. Jack Vincennes is a big headed because he gets to work on a TV show and meet all these famous people. Even his arrests are staged and dramatic. Kevin Spacey was excellent especially when his character becomes a bit humbled as he works his Vice case. Guy Pearce no matter what type of character he is just hot. I liked how his character kept digging and did not let the case go he knew it was bigger than what it appeared. Russell Crow just annoys me and his character Bud annoyed me to no end. Bud is the hotheaded cop who is quick to beat someone up without question. His only good parts were with Kim Basinger who is a hooker named Lynn Bracken made to look like Veronica Lake. I have not seen Basinger in too many movies but I really like her in this. Danny DeVito played Sid Hudgens a gossip magazine writer who gets tips from and gives them to Jack.
            Curtis Hanson directed the movie. I liked his direction very much he did a fabulous job capturing 1950s Hollywood, the corruptness of the police force, and all the stories of the characters.
            LA Confidential is an incredible movie. It is one of those movies I can watch over and over again and just never get sick of. The unraveling of the story is great and the action and mystery do not let up until the very end.