Hello...:) More catching up here..a film review will follow shortly but by way of an opener, today is 1st wedding anniversary for hubs and me...:D With some of the things we've had to cope with in the past year, this isn't how either of us would've envisaged spending our first 12 months as man and wife, but we're happy bunnies otherwise, and probably stronger together as a result of the difficult stuff. 'Nuff said...and on to the review...(NB - this was originally written back in May but for a whole bunch of reasons it's taken me till now to finish it and get it uploaded.)
LA Confidential (1997)takes James Ellroy's sprawling tale of cops, corruption and the seamy side of sunny Los Angeles and gives us an elegant thriller, often brutal, frequently witty and packed with fantastic performances. One of my favourite films of all time, for a whole raft of reasons, and (for anyone who knows me :D) not just for Russell Crowe's blistering turn as Wendell 'Bud' White.
Although I've got it on DVD (and VHS), when it turns up on the TV I like to try and watch some if not all of it, for old times' sake and because it's one of those films that stands up to repeated viewings - there's enough subtlety to offer up something different every time you see it.
Yet again LA Confidential never fails to suck me in: the story, the keenly depicted atmosphere of 50's LA, none of the characters quite conforming to the moulds they've come from, and the key officers - White (Crowe), Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) trying to get to the truth, with varying degrees of success and personal cost. The glamour of Hollywood is undercut by the grimy reality - tabloid magazines create scandal from thin air, apparently respectable businessmen sell smut and skin, and the cops are all compromised; some willingly, others by circumstance.
It is a beautiful film to watch - director Curtis Hanson and his team have really gone to town to ensure the look and feel of the City of Angels in a time of both prosperity and transition is near-perfect (although IMDB will keep you right about a few goofs here and there!) It's also an intelligent piece of cinema; the story unfurls without fuss, but keeps you gripped to the conclusion - there's no excess fat of action sequences, just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and, as the finale approaches, hurl you headlong towards it like a rollercoaster passenger who's just twigged the brakes are broken.
Somewhere a while back I read that LA Confidential the novel was considered a difficult prospect to turn into a film and, having read the book AFTER I saw the big-screen version, I can only agree. Ellroy's known for his heavy-duty, intertwined plotting, and LAC the book is no exception. The film covers some dark material, but (without spoilerizing things) the novel goes considerably further on that front, so it's understandable why some of the plot strands there didn't reach the movie.
It's understandable why Kim Basinger won the Oscar for her performance as Lynn Bracken, the Veronica Lake lookalike - a character with wit, vulnerability and humanity in spades - and I would never begrudge her that accolade. That one award for acting in LAC perhaps doesn't quite paint the whole picture of the film though - the performances are consistently excellent across the board, and it undoubtedly played its part in bringing Pearce and Crowe to wider mainstream attention. On that front, if you've been watching The Mentalist on TV, you won't have failed to notice Simon Baker as lead character Patrick Jane. By way of a mini Six Degrees of Separation, under the name Simon Baker Denny, he has a small but important role in LAC...but again, to stay spoiler-free here, you'll need to see the film.
Overall, 10 out of 10 for LAC - definitely one of my top 10 films of all time.