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90

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

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 201 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.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. 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.
  2. One of the best crime dramas to come along in years.
  3. 100
    Seductive and beautiful, cynical and twisted, and one of the best films of the year.
  4. 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.
  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: 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.
  7. 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.

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 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. Expand
  2. 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 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
  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. 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 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. Mar 10, 2013
    9
    Strongly written and acted, this film is an instant classic.
  6. Nov 8, 2012
    9
    L.A. Confidential is a startling, beautiful police drama that is flawless except for one aspect. Its characters escape tragedy far too often and easily, but that is a small flaw, and it is overshadowed by the power of the performances the actors give. Expand
  7. Aug 26, 2012
    7
    The best thing about this film is the plot. But because it's just a film adaption of James Ellroy's novel I won't give bonus points for that. A bit too slow sometimes but they've got a good cast and a nice 50's feeling. Story is still the best, however. Expand

See all 37 User Reviews

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