L.A. Confidential can be attributed to perhaps the best stage of Hollywood cinema (beautiful 90s). There is a smart plot, a great cast, a good soundtrack and camera work. One of the most striking examples of noir. A well-conveyed historical era. Clearly the best film of Curtis Hanson's career.
This film is an excellent cinematic tribute, paying homage, in a way, not only to the golden age of American cinema, but also to cinema noir, with a style that largely resembles the stylized and gloomy look of these films, but devoid of shadows and something dark that characterizes them. The film is now a little forgotten, or at least I haven't seen it so much on TV specialized movie channels... but the fact is that it is a remarkable work of cinema, won two Oscars (Best Actress, for Kim Basinger, and Best Adapted Screenplay) and received nominations for seven more statuettes (Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Sound and Best Soundtrack). It was, in fact, the great film of 1997, even better than "Titanic".
The film takes place in the golden years of Hollywood: shortly after the arrest of the biggest mobster in the city, the police seem determined to prevent the formation of new crime syndicates, but gradually the rot and corruption of the police force itself becomes evident. Among them, three policemen stand out, for different reasons: the brutal Bud White, the self-centered Jack Vincennes and the determined and incorruptible Ed Exley. Each of them, alone and in his own way, finds himself investigating the same crime: the death of a policeman in a massacre that took place inside a restaurant, and his eventual relationship with a mobster who runs a deal of luxury call-girls, surgically operated to resemble cinema stars.
I loved this movie, in all its engaging ways. The script is extraordinary and develops in a wonderful way, giving each of the characters the time to develop, even some that would otherwise be relegated to an amorphous background. As in a good film noir, women are not as innocent as they appear, and the police are far from being the heroes. There are no one-sided characters, they all have a rich dark core, which the script takes as much advantage as it can.
The cast is truly colossal and is full of big names. Kevin Spacey achieves, with this film, one of his best works as an actor, at least for me, and the same can be said of Kim Basinger, in a somber character that reminds us of one of the most wronged and forgotten actresses of the golden age of Hollywood : Veronica Lake. Did the Oscar given to Basinger this year also end up being, indirectly, a posthumous prize for this great actress, whom Hollywood devoured, but never esteemed or honored? In addition to these two actors, the film also features an excellent work by two Australian actors, Russel Crowe and Guy Pearce, both at the best level, and a great Danny De Vito, in an amoral and delightfully hypocritical character. James Cromwell was equally excellent in his role.
Technically, the film is full of value and quality, starting with grandiose cinematography, which avoids falling into the commonplace of noir films and fills the screen with color and light, capturing the Californian sun and the beauty of the city in its rich colors. The filming locations chosen for the recordings are excellent and their judicious use helped the film to fit the period and the context in an impeccable way. The sets and costumes, as well as the automobiles that were used, help a lot in creating an environment and a clear temporal notion, and are magnificent on the screen. The soundtrack, in charge of Jerry Goldsmith, is impeccable and appears at the right time.
Ces années 50 revisitées font illusion pendant un certain temps (presque la moitié), ce qui n'est déjà pas si mal ! un hommage appuyé et assez habile au film noir en vérité avec sa pléiade de stars et une bonne ambiance, plus brutale qu'à l'époque et quelques portraits pas piqués des vers.
Ainsi, par exemple, Russell Crowe dans son rôle de grosse brute tabasse et refroidit tout ce qui semble suspect mais c'est pour la bonne cause (celle de la veuve et de l'orphelin mais surtout la veuve). Non, il n'incarne pas un truand aux manières si peu délicates mais un flic, "le superflic" bourru et bourrin. Et ses collègues ne valent guère mieux : soit des branleurs, soit d'autres "soupes au lait" qui n'hésitent pas à mordre la ligne jaune et même la hiérarchie complaisante cautionne... la justice triomphante, bordel de merde !
Franchement, c'est drôle mais je crois que c'est une drôlerie involontaire. Puis on se rend compte que la Basinger qui joue les vamps ne sert strictement à rien dans son rôle de pétasse de luxe qui voit défiler tous les michetons de la Crim', remontés comme des pendules. Tellement mauvaise que t'en chiales de honte pour elle.
Puis on s'aperçoit que l'intrigue veut rebondir : elle commence à sortir un lapin de son chapeau et s'étire en longueurs et en conversations barbantes qui n'arrivent plus à faire avancer quoi que ce soit. On ne s'amuse plus et on trouve le temps de plus en plus long : que cela reste entre nous mais L.A. Confidential devient alors considérablement rébarbatif. L'histoire tarabiscotée part en vrille et tout s'effondre lamentablement.
La baudruche a donc éclaté et la sanction est tombée. Dommage, car les intentions étaient bonnes.
When I saw this movie in 1997, these glowing reviews had preceded it, along with comparisons to the movie Chinatown. After seeing it, I thought that surely these critics and readers must have been on some powerful drug, or were so desperate for a movie that had any kind of a story, they were willing to call it a masterpiece. I recently viewed it again, hoping I might have overlooked something or other. Would that I had. This big sprawling mess of a movie is no better now than it was then. What in the world all the hoopla was about is a mystery. One thing about it was the continued urge of the days directors to have "homages' to other movies and directors, a nitwit idea started in the 60s. The reason this was fairly new is because the directors that preceded them were too busy inventing the movies to indulge in ": homages"