L.A. Confidential is classified as a neo-noir film, meaning a noir that takes place in modern times with modern settings, rather than the old darkened alleyway, grizzled detective, black and white of noir past. Directed ably by Curtis Hanson, the story of this one takes us through the twists and turns of the LAPD and their various typified characters, all embroiled in corruption and danger in 1950’s Los Angeles.
It took a while for me to get into it, but once I did I was hooked till the end. The plot has a great deal of change-ups, and you never really know what’s going to happen until it does or who ends up dead or alive at the end. The film shares much in common with classic film noirs, with a modern spin on many of the conventions, as per the term “neo-noir”. In lieu of the traditional shadows, I did notice that L.A. Confidential likes to use reflections a lot, especially when they’re superimposed on other images. The film also contains one of the sharpest rack focuses I’ve seen in a while. Probably the most exemplary aspect of the film is its stellar cast (Kevin Spacey, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger), who all do spectacular jobs; in particular, Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, who broke into mainstream popularity with this film. Crowe is smooth and violent, a potent combination, and he plays it to a t, while Pearce’s Exley goes through quite the character arc through the film, one that he does an excellent job carrying us along for the ride with.
Like I said, it took a bit of time for me to really get into the film, but I’m ultimately glad I did. Give this a shot and I think you’ll walk away pleased as well. It may take some effort at first, but after a while you’ll be engrossed in what’s happening, and eagerly awaiting what happens next.
Arbitrary Rating: 9/10