Write descriptive essay about L.A. Confidential movie 1997, write an essay of at least 500 words on L.A. Confidential, 5 paragraph essay on L.A. Confidential, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
L.A. Confidential
Year:
1997
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Mystery
IMDB rating:
8.3
Director:
Curtis Hanson
Kevin Spacey as Jack Vincennes
Russell Crowe as Bud White
Guy Pearce as Ed Exley
James Cromwell as Dudley Smith
Kim Basinger as Lynn Bracken
Danny DeVito as Sid Hudgens
David Strathairn as Pierce Patchett
Ron Rifkin as Deputy DA Ellis Loew
Matt McCoy as 'Badge of Honor' Star Brett Chase
Paul Guilfoyle as Mickey Cohen
Paolo Seganti as Johnny Stompanato
Elisabeth Granli as Mickey Cohen's Mambo Partner
Sandra Taylor as Mickey Cohen's Mambo Partner
Steve Rankin as Officer Arresting Mickey Cohen
Storyline: 1950's Los Angeles is the seedy backdrop for this intricate noir-ish tale of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Three very different cops are all after the truth, each in their own style: Ed Exley, the golden boy of the police force, willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out; Bud White, ready to break the rules to seek justice, but barely able to keep his raging violence under control; and Jack Vincennes, always looking for celebrity and a quick buck until his conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. crime.
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Reviews
Like a good wine
This film is like a good wine - it matures with age. Every time that I've watched this movie I've liked it more and I liked it a lot to begin with.

The story follows three cops with a totally different outlook on life and MO. Very much like real life these cops are not model citizens. Bud White (Russell Crowe) dishes out his own punishment without the need for intervention of the courts. Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is not averse to making a bit of profit from newspaper hacks whilst arresting people. Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) is quite happy to grass on his partners to further his career. The three cops may not be particularly well matched, but they work together to solve the Nite Owl murder and find something altogether more sinister.

The acting from the three leads is outstanding and what makes this movie stand out even more is the excellent support from the rest of the cast. Kim Basinger, James Cromwell and Danny DeVito are all worthy of mention as is the script and the direction by Curtis Hanson. The only minor disappointment is the finish which was a little too Hollywood. A modern masterpiece 10/10
2004-02-15
Cop vs. Cop
"Come to Los Angeles. The sun shines bright, the beaches are wide and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap. Every working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a happy all-American family. You can have all this, and who knows? You can even be discovered. Become a movie star, or at least be one. Life is good in Los Angeles. It's paradise on earth . . . (laughs) . . . That's what they tell you anyway. That's because they're selling an image . . ." So speaks Walter Winchell sound-alike Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito) while we see sparkling images of LA life (and catch glimpses of movie stars like Marilyn, Frank Sinatra, and Deborah Kerr).

Hudgens produces "HUSH-HUSH" magazine, a Hollywood scandal tabloid. Behind all of the glamor there is the seamy side of LA, and Hudgens continues his narrative: Mickey Cohen (by the way, a real person) had taken over the Hollywood crime rackets. His associate is Johnny Stompanato, Lana Turner's love interest (also in real life). But Cohen is soon arrested and imprisoned for income tax evasion. The control of the rackets is thus left open, and hit squads are knocking off the top lieutenants. Sarcastically pointed out are the LA police, who are not against planting evidence and grabbing a few bucks and administering beatings (and, as we soon discover, are not averse to using ethnic slurs, such as wop, jig, and spic). The focus of the movie is an exposé of the LAPD, warts and all.

The tale – and it is a serpentine one – is about the intertwining paths of three separate police officers who maintain the peace by their own separate actions: Edmund Exley (Guy Pearce), Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), and Wendell "Bud" White (Russell Crowe). Exley is squeaky clean, while Vincennes is compromising and likes to keep his hands unsoiled. White uses brutal methods, to say the least. Despite their differing tactics, and the fact that they may clash with each other (and how!), these three are all basically respectable policemen. At an inquest, Detective White is termed a "thug" by DA Ellis Loew (Ron Rifkin), who has his own demons (see what happens to him!). White's partner is Dick Stensland (Graham Beckel), a loose canon if there ever was one. Exley was first in his class (out of 123) and chose the detective bureau against the advice of Captain Dudley Smith (James Cromwell). Exley also disagrees with the stiff and sordid Smith, who uses extreme methods that are quite frankly illegal. Exley believes in following the code of honor to the letter. Meanwhile narcotics detective Vincennes works on the side as a technical adviser on "Badge of Honor," a TV police show like "Dragnet." As a publicity guy he is also involved in publisher Hudgen's scoops, such as setting up celebrities in compromising situations.

The three cops are involved with unraveling the pervasive LA corruption like peeling layers on an onion. There are a series of events that initially do not seem to be tied in. But they are all related to the twisted plot. To mention a few incidents: A parole violator beats up his wife on Christmas night, Mexican suspects are arrested and beaten in jail (they had supposedly killed a cop), White meets prostitute Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger) at a liquor store, an ex-cop driver by the name of Leland "Buzz" Meeks is shaken up by White, a corpse rots in a crawl space under a porch, and homosexual actor Matt Reynolds is found dead with his throat cut. But the main occurrence that sets the ball rolling is the massacre of six people (including two waitresses) at the Nite Owl Café, where a recently dismissed cop (scapegoat?) was also murdered. Now the investigation begins in earnest. Several Negroes are conveniently implicated in the carnage; they have records (they know something about the kidnapping and continuous rape of a Mexican woman). Later Stompanato reveals to White about a missing heroin cache of 25 pounds. Meanwhile slimy rich pimp Pierce Morehouse Patchett (David Strathaim), owner of the "Fleur-de-Lis" prostitution ring, has "cut girls" (call girls who have plastic surgery to resemble the likenesses of Hollywood actresses, like Veronica Lake and Rita Hayworth). As the film progresses key characters show up dead. Then there is a shocking revelation at the one-hundredth minute mark when even a major lead is murdered (although there are red herrings). Stick with this one until its riveting climax at the Victory Motel!

The atmosphere of the movie feels like it is late December 1953 or January 1954: the cars, the clothing, and the hairstyles. The film does not need popular music of the 1950s to generate the feel of the period. Note that except for Kay Starr's "Wheel of Fortune" (1952), most of the rather modest soundtrack comes from the 1930s and 1940s. Now one may complain that the unfurling of so many characters causes some confusion. But the story – tense and suspenseful all the way – does unfold quite neatly. And such excellent character development is often not seen enough in motion pictures. The performances of the leads are all at a high level (Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, and others) although Jack Nicholson did win the Oscar for Best Actor. Although her part was small, Kim Basinger won both the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. "L.A. Confidential" did garner the Oscar for Best Writing and also was nominated for quite a number of other Oscars, including that of Best Picture, Director, and Cinematography. It is indeed refreshing to see a big-budget feature that delivers. Roger Ebert placed this one into his top ten films listing of 1997. Some folks believe that it just might be the best movie of that year! It is certainly one of the best features of the 1990s decade!
2014-06-20
Three Cops Who Changed Their Minds
SPOILERS...

The story of three cops who changed their minds. Guy Pearce begins as a coldly manipulative cop interested mainly in promotions. He winds up sanctioning the use of brute force in order to obtain what passes for justice in this movie. Kevin Spacey is sort of "affiliated" with the LAPD but his chief interest is in being technical adviser on a "Dragnet" show and getting his picture in the L.A. Times. He discovers that he has a sense of responsibility when a sympathetic young bisexual is murdered on his watch. Russell Crowe is an apparently mindless brutal thug who finds that love has made him vulnerable and that the instrumentality of anger has its limits.

Overall, it's an excellent film. The theme is similar to that of "Chinatown," in which Jack Nicholson, a brittle but basically decent representative of objectivity and order, discovers corruption in high places. "L. A. Confidential" isn't "Chinatown" (what is?) but it brims with the same irony and sense of dis-ease, although our identification with a single isolated human being is dispersed over a trio of flawed cops.

What a well-drawn flick. Curtis Hanson handles the direction competently, blessedly without the sort of dazzling special effects a viewer has come to expect from cop movies. There is plenty of action, but no car chases, exploding heads, or slow-motion deaths. In fact, all but two of the deaths take place offscreen. That's directorial bravery for you. Bring another Medal of Valor here.

The performances are about as good as they come. Danny DeVito is a tabloid reporter who speaks in headlines, liable at any moment to say something like, "What he needs is a snoot of coca-cola up the old schnozzola." (This is 1953, don't forget.) Kim Basinger is beautiful as a Veronica Lake lookalike but doesn't have too much of a chance to stretch her acting chops. Guy Pearce as the independent loner is the only character who gets my respect from beginning to end. He really BELIEVES in the cause, a hard charger, unfriendly though he may be. He also looks oddly like Arnold Schwarzenegger, especially odd since he was a body builder of sorts. I knew another body builder who was Schwarzenegger's body double in "Raw Deal" because he was a ringer. (Do all body builder have to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger? I mean, aside from their glutes?) Speaking of body builders, Russell Crowe gets a lot of screen time in a dark brown suit speckled with what looks like bird droppings, perhaps the ugliest suit ever committed to film, with shoulders as wide as the central span of the George Washington Bridge.

Two of the performances are irreproachable. John Cromwell is the corrupt police captain. He plays the role chewing gum and exuding unpretentious Irish charm ("Call me Dudley.") while tempering the charm with what sounds like good-natured and sincere common sense advice. Underneath that, he's thoroughly rotten in every respect. And Kevin Spacey is perfect as the vain detective who knows his way around the show-biz part of L.A. and enjoys schmoozing with councilmen, celebrities, and the press. He's involved in the two most amusing scenes in the movie. The first involves an almost miraculous control of facial expression. He's called in for interrogation by his superiors and is asked to testify against some other officers. "No," he says, "I won't snitch on anyone in the department." They offer him no punishment more severe than a slap on the wrist and before he knows it, he'll be back on "the show," which he loves. "The show?" he asks. There is a long long moment while his face sort of drifts from surprise, through disbelief, and into resignation. Then he figuratively shrugs his shoulders and says, without any deliberation, "All right, I'll do it." The very model of a complete sellout. The other amusing scene is when he and Pearce accost a beautiful blond in a nightclub and sneer at her because she's a whore plastic-surgerized to look like Lana Turner. And Spacey informs Pearce to lay off, "She IS Lana Turner." When they return to their car, both officers begin laughing.

The photography is fine, the early 50s decor is what you'd expect from a professional job like this. There isn't much in the way of original music in the score -- hardly any in fact -- but period music is used, not overused, to good effect. (It's quality varies from Kay Starr to Cole Porter.) Extra Casting and Wardrobe even went to the trouble of making the actors playing Jerry Mulligan and Chet Baker LOOK LIKE Mulligan and Baker, although they cut Baker's recorded solo short on "The Lady is a Tramp."

The movie doesn't have a traditionally happy ending really. All values are gray, as they are in real life, rather than black and white. Pearce, the political animal, remains ambitious but now has distance enough from his role to see it for what it is. The same seems to be true for Crowe's character, who has found the love of a good woman. Well, the love of a woman anyway. Crowe still has a long way to go before reaching redemption. He's killed in cold blood a rapist and drug dealer and planted a gun on him and gotten away with it, but we've seen him look disgusted at some violence he's forced to witness later in the film. Vincennes is dead.

This one is definitely worth seeing.

Catch this, if you can.
2003-12-20
What?
I admit to being amazed at the rating for this movie, higher than many better scripted and shot films whose time, I guess, has passed. Younger viewers like the lure of sex and violence in a glittering wrapper regardless of the quality of same. Sin City is the next derivation, and the next? I doubt it will say much about the human condition and how to live better, but then Hollywood has lost the Capras and Wilders who cared. LA confidential is a less than smart story of betrayal, stupidity, corruption, greed, sex and hopelessness. What is lacking is any sense of humanity and why we should want any of these people to live or die. Who are they and what do they tell us about life? Where is beauty, tragedy, sensuality, a sense of the thrilling and ephemeral? Who cares about a comic book?
2007-04-03
Couldn't Ask for a Better Movie
Now I would like to say, it is not very often that I give a 10. Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger, and Danny DeVito, a terrific cast all in a single movie. It is a movie that I doubt will ever fall from the top movie list. It is a Detective Movie basically with the three main characters, Officer Bud White (Crowe), Sgt. Jack Vincennes (Spacey), and Det. Lt. Ed Exley (Pierce), they are all in different divisions of the LAPD and they are all working on the same case from different ends, finally they all get together and the pieces begin to fall into place. There are so many twists in this movie that it keeps you guessing until the end. So with an all star cast, an all star script, the acting was top notch, which makes for an awesome movie. In the end, a 10 out of 10. And for all of you people out there that like good detective movies, and think that you can solve mysteries right away... I challenge you to watch this and test your wits.
2005-12-15
A truly classic film
When i first saw L.A. Confidential, i was simply blown away by it. Nothing about this movie is less than perfect. The cast is terrific, particularly Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce. Curtis Hanson's direction is masterful as is his Oscar-winning script co-written by Brian Helgeland. The story, based on James Ellroy's novel is multi-layered and very engrossing, involving crime and corruption in 1950s L.A. This movie captures perfectly the look and mood of that time and place. From the opening scene to the very end, i sat there glued to the screen. I can't recall ever getting as lost in a film as I did with this one. I have watched it many times and it never gets tired. L.A. Confidential is certainly one of the greatest films ever made.
2000-04-29
A Modern Classic
LA Confidential has all of the qualities that, over time, earn a film the honorific, "classic." The story is involved and involving, and quickly pulls the viewer into trying to solve the mystery along with the main characters. The script is brisk and clever, the editing moves along at a solid pace that builds toward the end, the images of old LA are realistic and convincing, and the character portrayals are more than wonderful, they're truly memorable. It's safe to say that in many respects this film provided break-out roles for Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, and Guy Pearce.

Crowe's Bud White steals the show -- brutal, tender, complex, and in his own way, rigidly principled, White is a powerful character whose presence dominates scenes. Crowe's earlier role in Virtuosity showed a tiny, violent piece of Bud White, but lacked his complexity and depth. Bud White showed the world what Russell Crowe can really do on screen.

LA Confidential similarly makes the best use of Kevin Spacey's abilities, in his role as the world-weary, cynical, smart and smarmy Jack Vincennes. Spacey's earlier work (e.g., The Usual Suspects) is terrific and memorable, but Jack Vincennes paved the way for the Spacey characterizations viewers love in his later films (e.g., Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, American Beauty, Pay it Forward, and the less acclaimed Beyond the Sea).

The role of Edmund Exley provided Guy Pearce with an opportunity to demonstrate some of his enormous range as an actor, alternately appearing naive, self-righteous, scared, street-wise, and menacing. These qualities appear in the widely varied but dynamic characters he has created in subsequent films (Memento, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Time Machine).

More than reliable, the supporting cast also creates characters that are believable, complex, and a pleasure to watch. Kim Basinger's wise and weary Lynn Bracken may represent her best work on screen. James Cromwell, often cast as a failed administrator, is wonderfully hate-able as the cool and corrupt Captain Dudley Smith. Danny DeVito romps as slimy Sid Hudgens, and David Strathairn's Pierce Morehouse Patchett is subtle and believable. Patchett almost certainly brought Straithairn the role of Edward R. Murrow in 2005's Good Night, and Good Luck. Ron Rifkin, Matt McCoy, and the rest of the cast also bring realism and energy to their roles, making the film solid and believable.

The story itself is compelling and enjoyable, a cops-and-robbers whodunit with several twists. The dialog ranges from moving to hilarious to terrifying to inspiring, without losing the story's consistency. The story's conclusion is dramatic, action-packed, and contains a few sweet surprises.

Anyone interested in seeing the early work of Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, or Guy Pearce should see LA Confidential. Anyone interested in seeing a great film should see LA Confidential. It's one of those films worth owning and watching a few times a year. Which is to say, it's a classic.
2006-11-09
Only half GREAT!
Reviewers have been far too generous in praise of La Confidential. The script is a perfect example of Hollywood once again dropping the ball. The first half of the film is GREAT, as good or better than I wanted it to be: a juicy plot (plus various sub plots) of just the right complexity, a seductively delicious milieu, and fascinating characters.

WARNING: SOME OF WHAT FOLLOWS MIGHT BE CONSIDERED SPOILERS!

Suddenly without warning, the story switches to the favorite action movie plot used by every other Hollywood hack – THE BIG CHEESE VILLAIN. You know this one, the evil authority figure symbolizing the corrupt establishment (such as a CEO, superior military officer, high government official, football coach, etc.) that no one would ever suspect turns out to be the criminal mastermind behind all the movie's mischief and mayhem. That worked in This Gun For Hire with Alan Ladd, but has been beat to death since Viet Nam and Watergate.

From the moment that Kevin Spacey is killed, the movie runs on automatic scriptwriter. As always the case with THE BIG CHEESE VILLAIN FORMULA, the major plot conflict and all sub plots can be conveniently resolved with an action packed ending where the hero (or heroes in this case) confront the villain and an army of evil henchmen in a setting reminiscent of the OK Corral. In the end, countless bad guys are blown away, yet THE BIG CHEESE is left to kill. As we've seen many times before, the crafty arch villain almost kills our heroes. And just when you've given up all hope, those physically and emotionally wounded good guys manage some last minute gunplay neatly dispatching old Mr. Corruption. And the world is right again.

As a bonus, the filmmakers of LA Confidential tacked on a schmaltzy epilogue with some cornball lines and long pathetic stares. This is a painfully obvious attempt to dupe us into thinking we experienced something profound. Oh yes, our heroes are a little more cynical, but they are much wiser, caring men, and their tarnished honor is still intact. Reminds me of Nancy Olson's line in Sunset Boulevard, `...just a rehash of something that wasn't very good to begin with.'

If you award flawed films like LA Confidential a top rating, what about noir classics like The Big Sleep, Out Of The Past, and Chinatown -- twenty stars at least? Personally, I would have enjoyed seeing more of Kevin Spacey and the ‘50s TV angle – as that's something different. I guess the filmmakers were constrained by the book, which I haven't read. But that doesn't excuse throwing out creative license, taking the easy way out, and opting for THE BIG CHEESE VILLAIN FORMULA, even if it's in the book.

2002-10-07
One of the best movies ever made...
L.A. Confidential is a thrilling film-noir about three cops who are trying to solve a mysterious murder case. On the surface it sounds like every other crime thriller, but the movie itself goes beyond that and becomes one of the most fascinating experiences I have ever had at the movies!

I must tell you, before going into the movie, I knew NOTHING about it except that Kevin Spacey was in it.

I don't want to go into plot details but will say that this movie was the best movie of 97 and probably one of the greatest movies ever made. Titanic beat this out at the Oscars? You have GOT to be kidding me. Russell Crowe should have at least garnered a nod for best supporting actor. He was absolutely stunning, as was Pearce and Spacey as the other two cops.

Scale of 1 to 5: 5
2000-01-28
Interesting criminal movie
LA Confidential is one of the most intelligent and most interesting movies I've ever seen. The film has about 10 subplots which will be gradually integrated into the main plot. What I found really good was the fact that the individual persons aren't classifiable as good or bad, but they coexist with each other in a special zone between good and bad. I think the main question of this movie is: What does justice really mean?

Evaluation 9/10
1999-11-08
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