L.A. Confidential (1997) Review

Los Angeles in the 1950s we see corruption growing within the police department and closely follow three very different policemen, one serious Ed Exley, one brutal Bud White and one sleazy Jack Vincennes they must work together to uncover who is behind connected murders.


L.A. Confidential is a high intensity ride with the issues of corrupt police officers and those at higher levels not taking things seriously. Things would really change though with the arrival of Ed Exley who wants nothing more than to uphold the law whilst also working himself up the ladder to the top. He will stop at nothing to achieve this and certainly will not cover for an other police, especially in the opening scene when he decides to rat those out who were involved in the altercation.

That included Bud White who is well renowned as a hot head who thinks with his fists, on this occasion though he was actually trying to get his partner Dick Stensland out of the way. Jack Vincennes who loves the fame of big arrests on camera working with Sid Hudgens to get the appearance right throws a few punches as well.

Dudley Smith is in charge of the police department and instantly becomes a big fan of Ed, really helping him to push forward quickly in his LAPD career much to the dismay of other cops. The whole plot though has plenty of twists and turns, something I cannot really get into too much without spoiling parts of the film which I am not going to do because I managed to go into this pretty blind. The only thing I really knew was that it was about police in LA, something I guess is pretty impressive right?

I thought the final 38 minutes were utterly outstanding where you fully just held your breath as everything unfolded, one event sparked that flurry to the big reveals for the characters. As a viewer we already knew what was happening but it takes them a little bit long to piece everything together. We also have Lynn Bracken who is a prostitute working for a high end company who prides itself on the women looking like movie stars. This allows me to mention the scene in which I felt was utterly hilarious and brilliant as Exley accompanied by Vincennes bursts into a restaurant and accuses a woman of selling herself to the man, a cheap Lana Turner, as it turned out it was actually Lana Turner. He deserved that slap! Then the laughing in the car to follow, I just seriously loved everything about that scene and thought Guy Pearce and Kevin Spacey absolutely nailed it!

The performances are truly outstanding with it being very different to pick who was the best and standout that is how high the standards were. Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kevin Spacey all given so many great moments and I felt as though each time of them was on screen they were my favourite. All very different characters and the performances more than reflected just that. Then in terms of support we have Kim Basinger who won an Oscar for her efforts and then James Cromwell who was just downright evil and the ever brilliant Danny DeVito who I didn’t even know was in the film!

While I had not had any of the plot spoilt I was fully aware of the high regard that the film is held in and I can fully understand why. It is an outstanding film with all of those twists and turns highlighting issues in the police department. Amazing performances that quite frankly deserve more credit than they actually receive. I really do find myself more and more amazed with Guy Pearce the more I am catching up with his work.

13 thoughts on “L.A. Confidential (1997) Review

  1. Weirdly rewatched last week as well, used to watch a lot when it was first out and about, so good! Really stands up to time as well, it’s funny with Guy Pearce because he’s done a lot of good stuff, just feel that now he’s become one of those actors where you go “Look, it’s Guy Pearce!” in new stuff. haha!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.