L.A. Confidential Curtis Hanson

L.A. Confidential Curtis Hanson
L.A. Confidential is one of the finest American films of the past 50 years. Released in 1997, Curtis Hanson’s adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel was embraced by critics but generally overshadowed by the cultural juggernaut that was James Cameron’s Titanic. Ten years later, L.A. Confidential remains a powerful, mysterious and socially relevant story. This new DVD special edition is the first step in solidifying its status as a contemporary classic. Primarily a detective story, L.A. Confidential is most identifiably rooted in the film noir and the hard-boiled literature of the ’40s and ’50s. But the story expands beyond these confines, utilizing a truly epic cast of characters and a rich, unique storyline. Commendably, Hanson cast two (at the time) unknowns in the primary roles: Australians Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce. Crowe’s Bud White is a brooding, earnest cop trying to reconcile his loyalty to the force with his personal ethics. Similarly, Pearce’s Sgt. Ed Exley finds that his values are at odds with the version of the truth that helped him rise within the ranks. Also in the mix are Kevin Spacey, as a Hollywood cop with a Dean Martin-ish swagger, and Kim Basinger, as a prostitute who resembles Veronica Lake. Never wavering in its authenticity, the film’s ’50s aesthetic feels both starkly realistic and cinematically nostalgic. Hanson's direction plays with this contrast between ’50s Hollywood clichés and dark, violent imagery. The tension between the two styles helps reinforce the theme of an undercurrent of truth competing with the reality people accept as true — Hollywood serves as a perfect allegory for this. The new DVD features a second disc of extras, including the pilot episode for an L.A. Confidential TV show starring Kiefer Sutherland, as well as an audio disc with selections from the film’s soundtrack. Worth watching for the first, or even tenth, time. (Warner)