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It’s the 50s in Los Angeles, the time and place for greed, gloss, cash, corruption, love and lust all come crashing together. Jack Vincennes (Spacey), is a cop famous for being a tv show advisor, and also helps Hudgeons (De Vito) set up photo opportunity busts for the editor of the world’s first tabloid journal devoted to scandalous exposes of celebrities, Hush Hush. He gets involved in a murder investigation in which fellow detectives Exley (Pearce) and White (Crowe) become more antagonists than colleagues. The two are seemingly so different, intellectually and morally, except when it comes to glamour puss Lynn Bracken (Basinger), who lights their fires, despite the fact that she is a suspect, and despite the fact that Exley thought he was unmovable. But nobody is quite what we or they think they are in the face of such easy money, such seductive games. All the while, Captain Dudley Smith (Cromwell) watches sagely, until Exley and White start putting the pieces together

"Looking overwhelmingly fifties in its colours, costumes, choice of LA locations and language, LA Confidential is a sort of cynical Chinatown without the mythical pretensions. Foul-mouthed, funny and often extremely violent, Hanson’s film actually has a lot going on beneath its technically proficient, breathlessly paced surface, not least in the way it gradually strips away the layers of its characters to reveal what really makes them tick. Spacey’s apparently terminally corrupt smooth guy, who cares more about the TV show to which he is an adviser (a thinly disguised version of the classic Dragnet), reveals a surprising degree of moral backbone when finally pushed to the limit. And it doesn’t take much to make Guy Pearce’s uptight careerist college boy to cross the moral lines he so smugly draws in the openings scenes. But Russell Crowe’s fearless, muscle-bound champion of abused women, who doesn’t hesitate to use force whenever it suits him, is the film’s most complex character - and one of the few survivors of the Jacobean tragedy-style blood bath that ends the movie. Consistently entertaining throughout its quite extended running time, LA Confidential also boasts the best set-up and executed gag in recent Hollywood cinema, which had the Cannes audience chuckling in recurring ripples of the delighted laughter for well over a minute. And it takes a lot to do that."
Nick Roddick

"A thriller based on a sensational murder, bent cops, glamorous women, secretive, shadowy figures . . . Armed with Hitchcock’s golden filmmaking rule (the power of suggestion is absolute), Curtis Hanson works this well worn path with a gingerly pace, paints in bold strokes and freshens it with an edgy, knowing, 90’s tension, thrilling us with scalpel-sharp wit. That is topped with first class performances from a strong (and some key Australian) cast – Crowe and Pearce. Basinger stands out, too; her perfectly tuned, ironic delivery of one simple line ("I know how he feels,") towards the end is perhaps the high point of her performance. The photography and the music fuse to help Hanson take us into this unique world of Los Angeles back then, which he describes as "knowing, tortured, twisted, optimistic and funny." He manages to capture all that, so it is little wonder the critics world over are urging you to see it."
Andrew L. Urban

"Brilliant, bold entertainment with complex characters that burn into the psyche. The most satisfying film of the year."
Louise Keller

"How refreshing to come across a thriller, an old-fashioned film noir potboiler the ingredients of which mix so perfectly. This is it, a wonderfully evocative film, a movie that enhances mood, character and plot to create the perfect thriller. And to top it all off, it's a darn good yarn, complex, involving and fascinating with every twist and turn. L.A. Confidential is also a film containing some solid performances. For such a distinctively American film to cast two Australians in pivotal roles might seem sheer folly, but no, genius is at play here, because the results are fascinating. Russell Crowe gives the kind of performance he has managed to manufacture throughout his career, expressing a certain truthful volatility that is pure Crowe. This is really Guy Pearce's film. He is truly electrifying as the more detached, by-the-book and intellectual Exley, who works more from the interior and is utterly convincing as such a complex character. The only major female character in the film is played to perfection by Kim Basinger, one of the rare actresses of the 90s who could have been a star in the 50s. She's intoxicating to watch. Director Curtis Hanson has crafted a period thriller straight out of the 50s, and his cinematic flair and attention to detail, are in evidence with every frame. When you add a sparkling script based on the best-selling James Ellroy novel, L.A. Confidential is an atmospheric, surprising and superb narrative thriller that succeeds not only in creating tension, but some memorable screen characters beautifully portrayed by a sterling cast."
Paul Fischer

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CAST: Kim Basinger, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, James Cromwell, David Strathairn, Danny DeVito, Graham Beckel, Simon Baker-Denny, Matt McCoy, John Mahon, Paul Guilfoyle, Ron Rifkin, Paolo Seganti, Amber Smith, Gwenda Deacon

DIRECTOR: Curtis Hanson

(Photo: Judy Kopperman)

PRODUCERS: Arnon Milchan, Curtis Hanson, Michael Nathanson

SCRIPT: Brian Helgeland, Curtis Hanson (based on the novel by James Ellroy)


EDITOR: Peter Honess

MUSIC: Jerry Goldsmith

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jeannine Oppewall

RUNNING TIME: 136 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 30, 1997

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