Omar: 5 out of 5 stars

So there are some movies that everyone with even a mild interest in film simply HAVE to watch. This movie is one of them. I’ve known for the longest that I needed to watch Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential (1997) yet I continued to put it off while keeping it a closely guarded secret that I had neglected this classic. Last week I finally shed this secret shade of mine. It was my girlfriend’s turn to pick the film to watch and I’m extremely grateful that she picked this one. 

The first thing you’ll notice about this impeccable noir is the stellar cast. The story follows three L.A. detectives played by Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Spacey. Along side these three leading men, Kim Basinger plays the femme fatale (and won an oscar for her performance) and Danny DeVito plays a sleazy reporter. So yeah, stellar cast. As you’d expect with a cast like this, the acting was A1.

Usually this is where I would go into some mild detail on what the story was about but if you know anything about the noir genre you’d know that plot lines are intentionally convoluted and meant to confuse. To try and explain what goes on in this movie would be pointless as it would sound too confusing so just trust me on this one, the story is phenomenal!

To earn the coveted 5 out of 5 perfect rating from me a film must do everything or close to everything exceedingly well and this movie accomplishes that. What draws me in most when it comes to noir films is the art direction. I absolutely love the lighting, the darkness and shadows, the angels, etc. Let me show you some examples of what I’m talking about.

…So anyway, I’m a big fan of how this movie manipulates light to create some awesome atmosphere.

Of all the noir movies I’ve seen, this one is what I would describe as the quintessential noir movie (although I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t watched Chinatown yet). One thing that stood out to me in terms of plot that I enjoyed were the three personalities of the detective characters. I enjoyed seeing three very different types of cops at work and seeing how they all came together and interacted. You have Guy Pearce as the young hotshot who works by the book and doesn’t mind throwing crooked cops under the bus on the pursuit of justice. You then have Kevin Spacey, the sort of witty fame-seeking cop who likes the spotlight and wants to do things the easy way and coast. Finally you have Russell Crowe the savvy veteran who doesn’t hesitate to rough people up, plant evidence, sleep with prostitutes, and more. All of them fit their roles well and did a good job of bringing their characters to life. Oh yeah, the music was  great too!

I agree with Liz that Kim Basinger didn’t blow me away enough for me to understand why she won the best actress award but that has more to do with the fact that I didn’t think her character was all that spectacular. She certainly acted the part extremely well but her character didn’t do enough or have enough screen time for an oscar win.

There really isn’t that much to say beyond that! The movie was amazing and I can see why its so highly regarded, a classic by all means.