It’s 1953 Los Angeles and life in the ‘City of Angels’ isn’t so great. Crime is rife whilst the LAPD has its fair share of corruption and crooked cops. A brutal and grisly murder at a local café seems like just another armed robbery gone too far to all except Lieutenants Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), Bud White (Russel Crowe) and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) who believe that a much more sinister conspiracy may be at work.
Based on a novel by James Ellroy, director and co-writer Curtis Hanson has crafted one classy neo noir. Whilst Hanson’s directing itself is assured and instantly captivating, the meticulous cinematography, set design and Jerry Goldsmith’s haunting score brilliantly hint at the darkness beneath all the glamour.
Like the complicated novel, the plot requires attention throughout for full enjoyment but the story is so absorbing that the twists are a pure joy to behold as they are revealed. Meanwhile the ensemble cast are all uniformly excellent, each adding something to their already deep and interesting characters.
In short, L.A. Confidential is an exquisitely-made thrill-ride and a film fully deserving of the masterpiece label afforded to it.
L.A. Confidential (1997), directed by Curtis Hanson, is released on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK by Warner Home Video, Certificate 18.