L.A. Confidential (1997)
Genre: Crime Mystery Noir Thriller
Starring: Kevin Spacey (American Beauty; Se7en) Russell Crowe (The Insider; Romper Stomper)
Directed By: Curtis Hanson (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle; 8 Mile)
Overview: When a late night multiple murder is discovered at an L.A. diner, three detectives each end up investigating the crime themselves, in their own unique fashion.
Acting: The cast is all-star. DeVito and Basinger are in this one too, and the chemistry between everyone is fantastic. Even the secondary characters have that hard edge grit about them. Say what you will about the sell-out Hollywood movie that only has big names in its cast. Sometimes they're stars because they're genuinely good, work hard and can produce one hell of a convincing flick.
Cinematography: Period pieces can often turn out pretty lame with all the petticoats and top hats, but when you take the 50s with the sleek cars, pinstripe suits and wet-look lipstick, what can go wrong? If you look at this director's career so far you'll know that innovation with the lens is not going to be the point, but the action is really exciting to watch. Some genuine edge of your seat moments.
Script: "He ain't queer and he ain't red, so he can't advance my quest for Sinuendo..." - Tabloid Journalist (Danny DeVito)
And that's just a taste. This is hard-edge film noir with all the grit and good times that you'd expect. The interrogations are moving, the wit is scathing, the intimidation is convincing and but for the odd cheesy dame lines, it's right classic fare, in a good way.
Plot: Rich and deep to the point that you might miss a couple things along the way if you don't pay close attention. We have a murder investigation that might seem like plain good ol' detective work, but there's a seedy underbelly to this crime and since the case is closed everyone has to look into it by skulking about around each other's back. Either way it wraps up real nice and has one heck of a dramatic climax.
Mood: The best crime drama Film Noir is set in the 50s isn't it? I mean it's classic, right? Same goes here. Mind you it's also genuinely original and human, not a bold caricature like Sin City, so you're left with the fact that the writers succeeded in creating rich players in this dark world with not-so-heroic motivations all the time, without so much of the machismo that goes with standard Film Noir territory.
Overall Rating: 84% (Secret's Out!)
Aftertaste: A great little story set in late 50s L.A., and for once the police are police and it isn't some private dick. Hmm, it would be nice to see Film Noir movies where the main characters aren't into being Peace Officers? Like maybe a Film Noir Lifeguard out there just trying to find a beach bunny with only his Zinc Nitrate and a pair of binoculars by full moonlight?
Man that sounds awesome. I call it "Pierwatch"!