L.A. Confidential is to Curtis Hanson what Citizen Kane was to Orson Welles. It is a film in which every element just falls perfectly in place and what we have on our hands is a film which is not only entertaining but endlessly captivating. I couldn’t think of a single scene where I lost my attention from the narrative. The film is a roaring affair from the word go. The story revolves around three cops who are of different nature but who have to come together to solve a series of crimes which has led to the death of innocent civilians and cops alike.
Ed Exley is an uptight man who believes that justice means something only when dispensed within the specified norms. Bud White has a heart of gold and a temper of a demon. He holds women in high regards and would cross the line to help them. He also believes in swift justice even though it might not always be dealt within the norms. Jack Vincennes is a cop who believes in doing nothing. He is a consultant for a popular TV serial and enjoys taking bribes and staying in limelight for the most inconsequential of catches which by the way make page 3 headlines.
The film has a racy narrative which is characterized by fast editing, terrific background score and stunning cinematography. The three cops are portrayed with aplomb by Guy Pierce, Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey. Half of the film’s charm is embedded in the act of these three men. The rest of the charm comes from the interesting story and a gripping screenplay. The audience will be forced to take sides with the characters and that happens to be one of the biggest pulls of the film. The film has a noirish feel to it which I just adored. The use of saxophone in some of the background pieces will make your heart go limp.
Speaking of the cinematography, the color composition is eye catchy. A lot of saturation is used evidently used to elevate the tones and give some of the characters a feel of being a touch above the rest. Look at the way the character of Lyn is portrayed. Played stunningly by Kim Basinger, here is woman who is practically a hooker but the manner in which she is presented and the way she carries herself, there is almost a feel of reverence for her character. It’s also due to the way she is captured on film. The action sequences, even though limited are scintillating. They are shot with authority and realism.
As I mentioned before, the three principal leads are great. Guy Pierce portrays a politically correct character and he looks and acts the part. He is hated by one and all until he lands the big catch. Crowe’s Bud White is physical and righteous. He will find a taker among one and all of the audience. He also wins the heart of Lyn by not being a poser but being what he is. But my favorite of the lot was Kevin Spacey. Smooth, dicey and funny. I just loved his act. Apart from the three protagonists, Kim Basinger makes a mark with her smoldering act. She is not only ravishing but extremely effective in the dramatic scenes. The scene towards the end where she has to face White about an incident which she apparently is ashamed off was beautifully enacted.
The film is brimming with beauty and energy and unfolds in a grand scale. I just loved the locales and feel of the film from start to finish. Some major characters are killed and they come as great shocks. The film is able to sustain the surprise element as well as be emotionally investing throughout its runtime. It generally doesn’t happen that I have nothing negative to say about a film that I have watched. But that just happens to be the case her. I couldn’t find any flaws in this film. It comes to as close being perfect as a movie can. L.A. Confidential is a seminal masterpiece on police crime meets Hollywood. It doesn’t get better than this. If you haven’t seen it already, then do watch this film. You will be amazed by it.
Rating : 5/5 (5 out of 5 Stars)