Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. 100
    Seductive and beautiful, cynical and twisted, and one of the best films of the year.
  2. A movie bull's-eye: noir with an attitude, a thriller packing punches. It gives up its evil secrets with a smile.
  3. A juicy noir stew of amorality that's the best thing since "Chinatown."
  4. One of the best crime dramas to come along in years.
  5. Reviewed by: John Krewson
    100
    As the story unfolds, carefully and elaborately, what develops is not just a remarkably intricate crime tale but a brilliant and compassionate story of people who struggle to rise above their flawed nature. This may be the best movie of the year; it's definitely one of the greatest crime films of all time.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    100
    He's (Hanson) never before generated the kind of heat inside a picture--and out of it--that he has with L.A. Confidential.
  7. 100
    L.A. Confidential, with an exceptional ensemble cast directed by Curtis Hanson from James Ellroy's densely plotted novel, looks to be the definitive noir for this particular time and place.
  8. Reviewed by: Janet Maslin
    100
    A tough, gorgeous, vastly entertaining throwback to the Hollywood that did things right. As such, it enthusiastically breaks most rules of studio filmmaking today.
  9. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    100
    An irresistible treat with enough narrative twists and memorable characters for a half-dozen films.
  10. Reviewed by: Wendy Wilson
    100
    Blessed substance marries beautiful style in a '90s film noir.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard T. Jameson
    95
    See L.A. Confidential. Be astonished at discovering anew how very, very satisfying movies can still be. And how fine that can feel.
  12. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    90
    Once L.A. Confidential gets rolling, it hits with power, stunning in its sweep and surprising with its plot twists.
  13. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    90
    L.A. Confidential is at the same time his (Hanson) most personal movie and Hollywood filmmaking at its best.
  14. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    You have to pay close attention to follow the double-crossing intricacies of the plot, but the reward for your work is dark and dirty fun.
  15. There are so many things to enjoy here.
  16. 90
    This movie restores genre elements to a level of potency that's disturbing, satisfying, and rare as hell.
  17. 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.
  18. 88
    Lately, it seems that film noir has become the province of independent productions. As a result, it's refreshing to see a big-budget, studio effort of this sort that does nearly everything right.
  19. 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.
  20. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    A movie of shadows and half lights, the best approximation of the old black-and-white noir look anyone has yet managed on color stock.
  21. Hanson delivers something ever rarer in film culture, not a new film noir but an old-fashioned total movie, somehow of a single piece.
  22. 78
    Full of period locations, costumes, and one very clever Lana Turner gag, it's easy to see why Ellroy is so pleased with the film.
  23. The story is so complicated that the movie can't quite make it clear, but the picture has impressive energy and high-intensity performances from Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, and Guy Pearce.
  24. "The Big Sleep" and "The Maltese Falcon" echo loudly throughout.
  25. 75
    A glamorous, alluring entertainment that revels in the artifice of Hollywood while exposing its corrupt heart, L.A. Confidential pays stylish homage to some of the great film noirs of the distant and recent past.
  26. Reviewed by: Dwight Garner
    70
    A movie that refuses to kick into gear until it's far too late.
  27. 60
    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.
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 210 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. Dec 26, 2011
    9
    "L.A Confidential" is not JUST a gangster movie. It's one that's cheerfully paced yet cynically written, where the three main characters compete against each other with beautiful state-of-art cinematography. Full Review »
  2. Mar 9, 2011
    10
    A masterpiece, combining a complex storyline with an amazing cast. A must see for all movie fans. The twist at the end will definetly make you want to watch it again to see what you missed. Remains one of my favorite films. Full Review »
  3. 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 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. Full Review »