L.A. Confidential

L.A. Confidential Image
Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 355 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Based on James Ellroy's novel about the movie industry, corrupt cops, tabloid journalism, gangsters and sexual obsessions of every stripe, L.A. Confidential is set in 1950's Los Angeles.

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. One of the best crime dramas to come along in years.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    100
    An irresistible treat with enough narrative twists and memorable characters for a half-dozen films.
  3. A movie bull's-eye: noir with an attitude, a thriller packing punches. It gives up its evil secrets with a smile.
  4. 90
    This movie restores genre elements to a level of potency that's disturbing, satisfying, and rare as hell.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    This sleek adaptation of James Ellroy's dauntingly complex novel has the black-and-white tabloid soul of an old "Confidential" magazine.
  6. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    80
    That rare mainstream cop thriller that refuses to telegraph its outcome in the first 15 minutes or, for much of its running time, to tell you how to feel about its protagonists.
  7. Director Curtis Hanson keeps the hugely complicated story zooming along the boulevard of broken dreams without losing sight of the details that make the trip worthwhile.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Oct 30, 2011
    10
    L.A. Confidential may be one of the few book adaptations that holds up (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo does too) and despite its very looseL.A. Confidential may be one of the few book adaptations that holds up (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo does too) and despite its very loose adaptation it is flawlessly executed with standout performances from the likes of Kevin Spacey and James Cromwell. However the film really belongs to Guy Pearce's Ed Exley who is the by the book character everyone loves to hate. This may be an oversimplification on my part but his performance is flawless, invoking all the emotions, especially as he reminisces about the death of his father in a gripping scene between him and Spacey's Jack Vincennes (whose answer to why he became a cop is brilliant). At its best LA Confidential is a film of two halves but each episode is cleverly put together with each character shining. The film embraces the period, including the obsession with noir and pulp to great effect with Kim Basinger bringing to life the role of the Femme Fatale as she effortlessly manipulates those she sees while also showing her vulnerable side during her scenes with Russell Crowe's Bud White (A career highlight). The story follows the brutal murders of the staff and customers of a late night coffee shop called the Nite Owl. However a plot that starts out simple frays off into multiple sub plots that are equally intriguing and cleverly put together providing one of the most intelligent look at the inner workings of a police station and the people we trust to solve our crime (The game L.A. Noire tries to do the same but falls flat). The film is a exhilarating tale of corruption, murder, sex and general wrong-doing that shows that there is no black and white, only shades of grey. Its everything a perfect noir should be and more. A timeless classic. Expand
  2. JaredC
    Nov 23, 2008
    10
    I go look on other film databases, especially IMDb, L.A Confidential is underrated. It kind of reminded me of Pulp Fiction because of its I go look on other film databases, especially IMDb, L.A Confidential is underrated. It kind of reminded me of Pulp Fiction because of its billboard, but really, this is better than Tarantino's piece. Pulp Fiction was an amazing movie, the third greatest movie of the decade, but LA is the second best because of how well Guy Hamilton portrays the story. And obviously Goodfellas is in first, this crime epic is must see. Expand
  3. Jun 21, 2014
    10
    One of the greatest crime thrillers, 'L.A. Confidential' is a flawless film with the direction, acting, cinematography, and script to supportOne of the greatest crime thrillers, 'L.A. Confidential' is a flawless film with the direction, acting, cinematography, and script to support it. It defeats 'Titanic' numerous times over, and it never gets tiresome. This should have swept the Oscars, unfortunately 'Titanic' was sad enough for people to love it. Expand
  4. Oct 29, 2011
    9
    L.A. Confidential perfectly captures the dark and dirty world of a 1950s pulp-noir. The film, as is often the case with noir, is all aboutL.A. Confidential perfectly captures the dark and dirty world of a 1950s pulp-noir. The film, as is often the case with noir, is all about contrast - whether it's the contrast between sun-kissed villas and dingy slum interiors, or the contrast between a cop following the law to the letter and another bending the rules to get the job done, or even the contrast between steamy romance and brutal violence. The various plot-lines that run parallel to each other feel episodic, but all are engaging and build to an immensely satisfying conclusion.The performances across the board are strong,but of particular note are Guy Pearce's by-the-book lead protagonist, Kevin Spacey's celebrity super-cop and James Cromwell's formidable police chief - they cast make the already excellent script shine. You have all the usual noir hallmarks - the femme-fatale (Basinger), the quick-talking, smart-ass reporter (DeVito), dirty criminals and even dirtier cops, yet L.A. Confidential still manages to be creative. For instance, few films that I can think of put such a focus on the public face of a police force - the maintenance of a media machine that is required to keep the authorities looking like the good guys. The film is nigh-on flawless, and a joy to watch. Expand
  5. Feb 22, 2013
    9
    This film is the true definition of a blockbuster, that met and exceeded every expectation. L.A. Confidential is loaded with star power andThis film is the true definition of a blockbuster, that met and exceeded every expectation. L.A. Confidential is loaded with star power and filmed in a style of films thirty years it's senior. Based on a true story, Three L.A. Detectives, with different reputations and personalities, team up to solve a brutal murder that involves one of their own. The film is loaded with twists and turns that will lead you down many different paths and thanks to the quality of the acting, it's all believable. Just how good was this movie? In 1998, it received NINE Academy nominations, one of the highest number of nominations ever. L.A. Confidential also put Russell Crowe on the map. This film is an extremely exciting 'who done it' mystery that will leave you on the edge of your seat and begging for more. The story is top notch, the acting is just about as good as it gets, and you will be hard pressed to find a better mystery. I can't possibly recommend this film enough! Expand
  6. Feb 1, 2011
    8
    Although Kim Basinger's performance was good, it was not Oscar worthy. The film, on the other hand was worthy of its nomination. Kudos toAlthough Kim Basinger's performance was good, it was not Oscar worthy. The film, on the other hand was worthy of its nomination. Kudos to the casting director for hitting the "actor to character" spot on. This film holds your attention until the end and leaves you with a feeling that you might have misjudged the characters. Expand
  7. Jan 7, 2015
    5
    Maybe its just me but nearly every single character in the movie came across as a phony. L.A Confidential is nothing more than a standard copMaybe its just me but nearly every single character in the movie came across as a phony. L.A Confidential is nothing more than a standard cop show you see every day on T.V. Expand

See all 39 User Reviews

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