Thursday, August 13, 2015

L.A. Confidential (1997)

Today's film is L.A. Confidential, which takes a look at police brutality and corruption in the 1950's.  The movie was filmed in 1997, and the 90's were not a good time for L.A. cops, what with the beatings of people and all.  This movie shows that this sort of problem has existed for ages.  Trust me I know from experience.

This film could be classified as a neo-noir, which is a noir film not made in the 1940's and 1950's.  During this time, no building in the city could be taller than City Hall, and they achieved this through really well-aimed cameras.  A lot of the scenes were actually based in real life.  The "Bloody Christmas" scene where cops beat up Mexican prisoners occurred in 1951.  The arrest of gangster leader Mickey Cohen did lead to a war to replace him.  Well, that would happen anytime a leader is arrested, because there is always someone to take their place.

I think that it is funny that a film about American cops would star two Australian guys.  Another thing to note is that not a single person in this film is "good".  There are actually three main characters.  Bud White (Russell Crowe) is temperamental and violent, and the corrupt chief uses this knowledge for his own gain often.  Exley (Guy Pearce) steps on everyone to get to where he wants to be.  Jack Vicennes (Kevin Spacey) is another detective, who is famous and gets paid off by a sleazy tabloid writer, played by Danny Devito.  They investigate a shooting in a diner which ultimately involves the chief of police. They decide to work together to do the right thing, but by then it might be too late for them.

Of course with a noir there has to be a femme fatale.  She is Lynn, played by Kim Basinger.  She did not age well.  Anyway, her character works at a place where hookers look like movie stars.  Places like that did exist back then just like they do today. Lynn looks just like Veronica Lake, who is most famous for Sullivan's Travels, but actually did play a femme fatale in some films.  So the cycle goes on and on!  Unfortunately, the romantic boat sinking movie also came out this year, so this film was denied the Best Picture award.  That is too bad, because there were a lot of great performances in this film.  I will give this film a 9/10.

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