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Overall Rating
4.68

Awesome80.21%
Worth A Look: 13.02%
Average: 1.56%
Pretty Bad: 5.21%
Total Crap: 0%

11 reviews, 126 user ratings


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L.A. Confidential
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by Filmink Magazine (owes us money)

"A hyper-charged entry into the canon of great noir thrillers."
5 stars

It pains me to resort to cliche, but a star is born. Guy Pearce successfully reinvents the Great American Hero in his own image, stealing the show from not only a crack cast but the film itself.

No mean feat considering this faithful adaptation of James Ellroy's hard-boiled potboiler is a dazzling, bleak and hyper-charged entry into the canon of great film noir thrillers.
L.A in the early fifties never looked so seductively lurid.

Ellroy's novels read like screenplays, they spring deep from the well of Hollywood cinema and are written self-consciously to be brought to the screen. The imagery, the dialogue, the tone and the great sweep of ideas are already there on the page. Director Hanson (The River Wild, Bad Influence) successfully mimics Ellroy's conflation of pulp fiction and high literature in bringing this corrupt world to the screen.

In terms of film style, cinematography, art direction and production design L.A. Confidential exceeds all its predecessors, Polanski's Chinatown included. In terms of values, the film depicts an amoral world in absolute terms. "Everything is suspect, everything is for sale, and nothing is what it seems", says the poster but at least this is a world where you know where you stand. The first rule is break all the rules - and ironically this becomes perhaps the film's only drawback - in a world where nothing is as it seems we find it impossible to take any simple fact at face value. Pearce and Crowe play two very different L.A cops, Ed Exley and Bud White who start out enemies and end up allies. But both are 'good men' forced to perform bad, bad deeds in the service of the elusive notion of justice.

It's pointless to recount the convoluted plot but central to proceedings is a high class prostitution racket where hookers have been 'cut' by the plastic surgeon to look like movie stars. A crucial moment comes when Crowe starts busting a bar room floozy, and it turns out to be "the real" Lana Turner.

L.A Confidential is the New Hollywood spilling the beans on the sham fantasy of Hollywood 'golden age'. And it does so with malevolent glee. What fantastic performances, from Spacey's sharp show pony celebrity cop, to Basinger's whore with a heart of gold, to DeVito's wonderfully sleazy pedlar of gutter journalism.

Yet it's Crowe and especially Pearce who truly perform the tours de force. We in Australia always knew they were good and what a tragedy that this country can't produce enough films to keep them. ---Erin Free

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=96&reviewer=14
originally posted: 08/26/98 14:02:06
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell compelling well acted film 4 stars
4/01/16 Aj wales Pearce better than crowe here. Great movie. 5 stars
5/22/15 David Hollingsworth Best film of 1997, better than Titanic 5 stars
5/17/14 Matthew Thompson What Danielsan said 5 stars
1/10/14 Danielsan One of the greatest movies ever made! 5 stars
7/07/13 Monday Morning Roo's review and 2-star rating shows that he (or she) is a fucking idiot. 5 stars
6/19/11 randy todger amazing film with incredible performances.miss stress go suck a cock stupid cow! 5 stars
1/31/11 brian Spellbinding. 5 stars
7/24/10 bagwell5 This movie, not " Titanic " , should have won Best Picture for 1997. 5 stars
4/17/10 PAUL SHORTT COMPELLING THRILLER WITH GREAT PERFORMANCES 4 stars
4/02/09 Dane Youssef On par with "The Maltese Falcon, "Chinatown," "Murder, My Sweet" and "Double Indemity." 5 stars
3/11/09 brian Definitely better than Chinatown. 5 stars
1/15/09 FrankNFurter Violent, cynical, and spectacular neo-noir masterpiece.A must-see for all film buffs. 5 stars
11/28/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
11/18/08 killer mindblowing cinema 5 stars
10/19/07 MP Bartley Glorious, glorious entertainment. Shoulda swept the Oscar board that year... 5 stars
5/06/07 R.W.Welch Overblown shootout takes the edge off an otherwise impressive effort. 4 stars
4/21/07 Chris Redmond The real stars were Crowe, Pearce and Cromwell, not Basinger. 5 stars
4/01/07 fools♫gold Thetypeofending KissKissBangBang madefunof, but the twist here is that it's the prfct one! 5 stars
1/18/07 Sepi53 great film noir movie 5 stars
6/05/06 Thomas BETTER THAN CHINATOWN 5 stars
2/14/06 ronald fascinating cinema.Come on Hanson and make more films like this 5 stars
2/11/06 Seanboy One of the best movies ever, Crowe, Spacey and Pearce should've been thanking the academy 5 stars
8/12/05 ES yes sir excellent crime drama, sweet twist 5 stars
5/08/05 Bluto Loved it, powerhouse ensemble cast 5 stars
2/28/05 Jeanne This film gets better each time I see it! 5 stars
1/10/05 keithers.. amazing film...Crowe is perfect in his role 5 stars
12/23/04 Vince Atmosphere reminded me of Chinatown... only this was better! 5 stars
9/26/04 Tor Honolulu Great but if there ever was it was a wasted Oscar, it was given to Kim for this 5 stars
7/16/04 eris One of my faves. 5 stars
4/30/04 Doan AWESOME MOVIE 5 stars
4/20/04 coreyhaim Uniformly excellent filmmaking. Crowe, Basinger and Spacey are brilliant. 5 stars
4/10/04 IP Freeley Michael Mungin was upset cause he didn't see Crowe's penis...this is a great movie shithead 5 stars
3/27/04 Gretchen good story, disappointing ending 4 stars
3/21/04 Peter A really good film with good twists and atmosphere 4 stars
3/18/04 kandy howman great movie 5 stars
3/17/04 Alfred Guy A gripping movie. Good characters AND gunplay! 5 stars
3/11/04 Charles Tatum A classic piece of film making...until the most disappointing ending in recent memory 4 stars
3/02/04 Michael Mungin Russell Crowe makes me snore. So does Kim Basinger. 3 stars
2/28/04 Despot This was a great adaption of Ellroy's work. This film has never recieved enough credit. 4 stars
2/25/04 susan lee I agree .. this movie was way better than titanic .. 5 stars
2/25/04 Jack Sommersby An instant classic that's (almost) as good as it gets. Top-notch work all around. 5 stars
2/24/04 y2mckay Fantastic movie - great perfs from Pearce, Spacey, and Crowe before they all sold out 5 stars
11/30/03 john best crime story with the worst unreal happy ending ever attached to a otherwise great film 4 stars
8/30/03 AD perfect 5 stars
5/18/03 George Jung This movie is a modern classic. Everything about this movie was perfect. 5 stars
3/20/03 GMan Mmm. Good. Russell Crowe before he become RUSSELL CROWE, HOLLYWOOD BADBOY SHIT ROCK SINGER. 5 stars
1/24/03 fjff A flawless film. A rarity in this day and age. Definitely worth the time and the money. 5 stars
1/23/03 Artist Freak Great ensemble cast , storyline, photography, details galore, loved it loved it loved it. 5 stars
1/06/03 Monster W. Kung IP Freely, go fuck your dog and blow your cat, you fucking idiot. 4 stars
12/17/02 IP Freely Roo, Forrest Gump called, he said he doesn't want his IQ back. This movie rocks! 5 stars
11/16/02 Catherine Doherty Top marks for evertyhing, except that it is marred by that improbable shootout at the end. 5 stars
8/16/02 Scott great, one of the best flicks ive seen in a long time 5 stars
7/23/02 erick tis a downright shame this lost to titanic... i mean for christs sake, titanic 5 stars
7/11/02 Emily Torrisi Terriffic! The best film in years. 5 stars
7/10/02 Mina Best in years: intro of Guy Pearce, details of the 40s great; loss of Oscar to Titanic!! 5 stars
6/24/02 Phil M. Aficionado Excellent but not truly great as the plot became far-fetched with over the top action. and 4 stars
6/06/02 I'm i (L) with a Jedi sweet! corrupt cops shit me up da wall!!! 5 stars
5/18/02 Kat Balue Basinger aside, superb acting, atmosphere, writing 5 stars
4/04/02 Edfink Lombardo Spacey, Pearce, and Crowe are excellent...Brilliantly conceived and brilliantly written 5 stars
3/16/02 Artist Freak The only worthy film noir movie since Chinatown. 5 stars
3/10/02 Rebecca thrilling, great period piece 5 stars
2/25/02 Butterbean This is where I fell in love with Russel Crowe. The entire cast and story is the best 5 stars
10/02/01 Phoenix I loved this movie. It's one of the best movies of the 90s. 5 stars
8/15/01 Henry Ginsberg Very commpeling,but a bit to improbable. 4 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk It is so seldom we have a chance to see a movie this good. Flawless. 5 stars
7/19/01 Reini Urban maßlos überschätzt 2 stars
6/16/01 Melissa in NYC Goes to show that Academy Award voters are hacks. This is hands-down the Best Film of '97. 5 stars
6/15/01 Bada Bing Crosby Basinger aside, this is a great movie 5 stars
5/05/01 fifu awsome plot twist one of crowes best 5 stars
4/16/01 LiL Fantastic thriller who has you really clued in all way round 5 stars
4/02/01 Al amazing! 5 stars
3/28/01 Rampage it was fantastic!! 5 stars
3/17/01 Artist Freak Can't say enough good about it. Dense,smooth,brutal,intelligent. Epic noir detective movie. 5 stars
1/20/01 Ground Zero should have won a award for best movie, no thanks to that Titanic pissant 5 stars
12/22/00 stovall222 great plot, superb acting, Crowe intensly real. 5 stars
11/27/00 The Evil Penguin One of the best of Crime Drama. I wish Titanic never stole their OSCARS. 4 stars
10/18/00 Dan Explosive dialogue and dark characterisation - a masterpiece. 5 stars
9/10/00 perverted pixie A sharp, but slightly stiff flick. Pearce and Crow are magnetic performers. 4 stars
9/03/00 Ben How shit like Titanic and English Patient win Oscars & this gets hardly any is beyond me. 5 stars
8/23/00 cadroy gorgeous film-noir!check it out!!! 5 stars
7/18/00 Sissy DAAAAMMMNN that Russell Crowe is a fucking hottie! Awesome movie! 5 stars
7/10/00 Andrew J. Just watched it again today on DVD. Even better this time. 5 stars
7/06/00 Chris Drake Rare: the movie is better than the book--confusing so watch it at least twice 4 stars
6/24/00 Naushad Khanji Sketchy story.Lacks Rhythm.Often strays too far from main plot. 2 stars
5/02/00 lucas jackson a classic when it came out in the theatre 5 stars
4/26/00 verbalgirl This film was ROBBED at the Oscars. 5 stars
4/05/00 PJ Man oh Man This movie is the best Film Noir since Chinatown Brilliant, performances great. 5 stars
4/05/00 MissBeBop Brilliant 5 stars
3/13/00 Scary Joe damn fine stuff 5 stars
2/16/00 Neil Austin Nice to know Hollywood can do subtle 5 stars
1/29/00 Ami the Wonderbread Bought it on a whim in Michigan while at camp, loved every minute! 5 stars
11/06/99 Anthony Ellis The best film to come out of Hollywood in years. One of the best films of all-time. 5 stars
10/30/99 Bozo Male actors were amazing; Kim can't act (no wonder she won the Oscar) 4 stars
10/20/99 Lame-Oh A brilliant masterpiece, DeVito rocks! 5 stars
9/29/99 Glitter Berry Best Film of '97. Kim Basinger is awesome 5 stars
8/20/99 Japtalian And ya still don't believe O.J. could have been set up? 4 stars
8/02/99 Weird Andy This was the best big studio flick I had seen in many, moons. Read the book. Ellroy rules 5 stars
5/07/99 Lucas Jackson This was a fucking great mystery full of suspense and action,it was fucking outstanding 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson ...Wow... 5 stars
3/22/99 A. M. Good, but loaded with Hollywood formula thrash. Could have been better. 4 stars
3/14/99 Viral Messiah Totally awesome! Up yours, pussies! 5 stars
3/12/99 Ah Dooey Hehehe. Good cop, bad cop, what's the difference? 5 stars
2/19/99 Piz Basinger a bit overhyped but a great story with convincing actors 5 stars
2/02/99 Matthew Bartley Greatest Hollywood crime film ever? Damn right 5 stars
1/17/99 Dan Miller Kick ASS!! Fuck YA!!! 5 stars
1/11/99 I.P. Freeley Two words: goddam awesome! 5 stars
1/03/99 Dasha I would give it 6 stars if it was possible. Magnificent, just magnificent. 5 stars
1/03/99 val excellent!! unexpected plot twists-eureka! hollywood made a movie for intellegent viewers! 5 stars
12/04/98 Matthew J. Soucy FAR AND AWAY THE BEST PICTURE OF 1997. CURTIS HANSON IS A WIZARD! 5 stars
11/27/98 Mr.Pink Everyone's faults in the careers of the cast and crew are forgiven..... 5 stars
11/23/98 Lord Of The Dunce A seriously well acted, seriously well directed noir thriller. Bassinger wasn't all that. 5 stars
11/13/98 Jules Movies suck so bad lately people actually thought this film was great... 3 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob Modifications aside, this is one hell of a great adaptation of a great story! 5 stars
10/24/98 Timmy C Wow...a film that actually lived up to the novel. 5 stars
10/19/98 Kwyjibo Quite simply one of the better 1% of movies you'll see. 5 stars
10/13/98 joseph agree with goofball-spacey is always good--best supporting actress-NO 2 stars
9/24/98 Nate Dogg The movie kicked ass...Kim Basinger is a fuckin' hack though....she sucks dick (ask Prince) 4 stars
9/09/98 Miss Stress i'm sorry, it was so boring i feel asleep 2 stars
9/06/98 BBReBozo Incredible. Unfortunately we'll see copy-cats. 5 stars
9/05/98 Kid Pee-Pee The aussie actors kicked major ass, but I didn't think Spacey pulled it off. 4 stars
9/04/98 Badass I love this movie. One of the very best screenplays ever written. 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball I guess I was alone in thinking this was kind of trying too hard. Pearce was good. 3 stars
8/16/98 Johny With the Best of '97 5 stars
8/15/98 Pete I loved it. Well written, Crowe kicked a ton of bootay. 5 stars
8/14/98 {{{OZ}}} A fine piece of film noir. Sometimes stretched but all up a screamer. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Sep-1997 (R)
  DVD: 07-Jun-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  30-Oct-1997 (M)




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