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L.A. Confidential Special Edition (DVD)
L.A. Confidential is "tough, gorgeous and vastly entertaining" (James Maslin, The New York Times) and won 1997 Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress (Kim Basinger) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Brian Helgeland & Curtis Hanson). Three cops, a call girl, a mysterious millionaire, a tabloid journalist fuel a labyrinthine plot rife with mystery, ambition, romance and humor.]]>
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Russell's character. Bud White, grows the most throughout the movie, moving from a muscle guyM a direct applier of justice, who has a thing for protecting abused women and becomes an accomplished detective. Kevin Spacey's character, Jack V. seems to be based on Jack Webb's Dragnet (A TV show from the 50's) who also rediscovers why he became a cop.
Edmund Exley's character also discovers what being a policeman is about. He moves from being a by-the-rules officer to finally understanding that sometimes direct applications of justice are the only way that some criminals will receive the punishment they have due them.
All in all a great movie, filled with twists, and interesting characters.
If you like the movie, I suggest you read the book. I have done both, and I think the movie clears up some of my confusion from the book, while the book defines the characters and helps explain the final scenes of the movie.
The setting is Christmas Eve 1953 Hollywood, CA, and opens with a welcome by a sleazy tabloid publisher (DeVito) whose voice-over gives us a quick backstory & brilliantly sets the tone. The local crime boss has recently been apprehended and locked up, and folks are speculating on which wannabe will step in to fill his shoes. L.A. is a hotbed of crime and misdeeds .......
We are then introduced to the cops working said hotbed, namely Edmund Exley (Guy Pearce), the ambitious square peg; Bud White (Crowe) aggressive defender of battered women; Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), smooth and canny narcotics cop aspiring to celebrity, other cops and players all pursuing their own agendas and carving out their niches. The action gets underway with some station-house mayhem, then the brutal multiple murders at the heart of the story. Exley is intensely determined to solve the crime to earn respect and acceptance within the department, and more importantly, to get promoted. But he's not the only one with a major stake in unraveling this mystery (or muddling it further)! The side stories and apparently random events dovetail into the primary action beautifully as the pieces of the puzzle begin falling into place. I can't say more without giving too much away.
The multiple plot twists serve to keep the action moving forward, none of them feel contrived or out of place, and the wrap-up is powerful and well executed. The casual viewer might miss some important clues or overlook some of the subtler aspects, I personally enjoyed the second viewing more than the first as the story seemed richer, and I noticed the superb acting nuances I overlooked from being so engrossed in the action. James Cromwell winces almost imperceptibly during one closeup, expressing emotions it would takes minutes to explain, Guy Pearce's eyes widening or narrowing gives Exley depth and humanity, Kevin Spacey and Kim Bassinger's body language is spot on, skillfully complementing the dialogue. These are truly first-rate performances.
I highly, highly recommend this awesome movie.