Sunday 28 June 2015

Review: L.A. Confidential

I can't believe I haven't seen…

L.A. Confidential Poster

L.A. Confidential (1997)
Cert: 18 / 132 mins / Dir. Curtis Hanson / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7

You've got to hand it to Curtis Hanson, L.A. Confidential is a film which knows exactly what it wants to be, and wastes no time slipping on the plaid sports jacket of 1950s sleaze and intrigue. A pantomime of a crime-romp, it never quite descends into camp territory thanks to the poker-faces of the cast, with the leading trio of Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe playing their roles completely straight despite clearly having an absolute hoot as the three-degrees of police corruption.

They're supported ably by a raft of both character and leading actors, most notably Danny DeVito and Kim Basinger, each commanding the screen entirely in parts which are almost understated, narratively. (As an aside, am I the only one who things the young Russell Crowe here is like a young Ewan McGregor in his look and mannerisms? There's a vulnerability in his performance which I haven't seen before or since*1, and this might be the most likeable performance I've ever seen him give. What happened, Russell?)

The only eyebrow-raising aspect of the film is the absurd amount of ADR going on, whereby the slightest and most indistinct of mouth-movements appears to result in some of the clearest dialogue you've ever heard. I'm not complaining about that as I can't stand mumbling in films, but the effect is quite jarring at times, especially if you're watching in hi-def.

L.A. Confidential is a quite remarkable and wholly uncynical homage to the gangbuster movie of Hollywood's golden age, the likes of which wouldn't get made in 2015.

In fact, I'm amazed it was even made in 1997…

Have you really never seen this before?
One didn't watch Kim Basinger thrillers in the 90s. It wasn't the done thing.

So are you glad you've finally have?
I am.

And would you recommend it, now?
I would, in a sort of Sunday-afternoon-movie kind of a way.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not that I heard.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Kevin Spacey starred in 2009's The Men Who Stare At Goats, as did Ewan 'Kenobi' McGregor.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Although to be fair, I find Crowe non-specifically unlikeable to the point where he's not 'a draw' for me when it comes to choosing movies to watch, so he could be putting out the most touching films that humanity's ever seen and I wouldn't know about it. But I doubt that, somehow. I doubt that a lot.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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