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L.A. Confidential

This is a movie that is pretty much made for me. It’s a film noir with cursing and realistic violence! People wearing 50s clothing and sex! I really don’t know why modern film noir hasn’t become more of a thing. Every couple of years one comes out and everyone goes crazy for it but it never really takes off.

This films has one of the best ensemble casts ever. Every character is fully formed and could carry their own movie. This film was the big break for both Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, won Kim Basinger a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and features on the of best death scenes ever, but more about that later.

Russell Crowe plays Bud White, a cop known for his muscle and for going out of his way to protect abused women.  After his partner is killed, White stumbles across a prostitute named Lynn (Basinger) and realizes that his partner’s death was part of something much bigger. Used by his captain to beat confessions out of criminals, White is written off as nothing but a dumb oaf, but he is able to uncover a police scandal involving top officers. His relationship Lynn and his antagonistic rivalry with fellow cop Ed Exley, brings him to his lowest point before allowing him become the man and cop he was meant to be.

Guy Pearce plays Ed Exley, a cop who lives in his father’s shadow as he rises the ranks in the police force and doesn’t care who he destroys in the process. Exley uses politics to earn promotions, but gains enemies among his fellow officers in the process. When he discovers the case that made him a hero, might not be closed afterall, he is reminded why he became a cop in the first place and sets out to make things right no matter what the consequences. Pearce  has a talent for creating characters that you like despite yourself. Exley is blinded by ambition but when he is allowed to show his actual skills as a cop, he is an artist. The scene were he forces a confession from the Nite Owl suspect is orchestrated perfectly, even though he doesn’t have the right men.

Kevin Spacey’s Jack Vincennes, is my favorite character of his by far. He plays a smooth-talking cop who is a technical adviser for a Dragnet-type television show when he’s not setting up photo ops for his friend’s tabloid magazine.  When a set up ends with the death of a young actor, he realizes how destructive his posturing is and assists Exley after they realize their cases may intertwine. Unfortunately, he trusts the wrong man and is killed when he uncovers too much. His death scene is my favorite of all-time. He plays it subtly, with a moment of shock as he puts together the pieces. He utters his final words and chuckles, knowing this will eventually lead to his killer exposing himself and then lights out. You see the life leave Spacey’s eyes.

This film is one of the many throughout history that was nominated for a best picture Oscar and lost to a lesser film. It was released the year of Titanic, and while James Cameron’s epic won the prize, it has become of the biggest jokes in movie history, while L.A. Confidential is still considered by many to be one of the best films of it’s decade.

Favorite Quote:

Ed Exley: Shut up! A hooker cut to look like Lana Turner is still a hooker.
Johnny Stompanato: Hey!
Ed Exley: She just looks like Lana Turner.
Jack Vincennes: She *is* Lana Turner.
Ed Exley: [stunned] What?
Jack Vincennes: She *is* Lana Turner.
[Lana throws a drink in Ed’s face]

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About amandalovesmovies

Lifelong movie lover who's ready to share her two cents with the world! Follow me on twitter @tuxedopengin

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