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L.A. Confidential [Blu-ray] 
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Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce star in this classic thriller directed by Curtis Hanson. In 1950s Los Angeles, Ed Exley (Pearce), Bud White (Crowe) and Jack Vincennes (Spacey) are three very different cops: Ed is ambitious and incorruptible, Bud takes pleasure in beating up wrong-doers, and Jack works as technical advisor to the television show 'Badge of Honour'. Ed earns the enmity of Bud and Jack when he testifies that they were involved in the beating of a group of Mexicans in police custody, but all three men become involved after a mass-murder takes place at the Nite Owl cafe. Initially, it seems that a group of drug addicts are responsible, but further investigation leads to evidence of blackmail, prostitution and a police cover-up. Kim Basinger won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
In a time when it seems that every other movie makes some claim to being a film noir, L.A. Confidential is the real thing: a gritty, sordid tale of sex, scandal, betrayal and corruption of all sorts in 1940s Hollywood. The Oscar-winning screenplay is actually based on several titles in James Ellroy's series of chronological thriller novels (including the title volume, The Big Nowhere, and White Jazz)--a compelling blend of LA history and pulp fiction that has earned it comparisons to the greatest of all Technicolor noir films, Chinatown. Kim Basinger richly deserved her Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a conflicted femme fatale; unfortunately, her male co-stars are so uniformly fine that they may have cancelled each other out with the Academy voters: Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey and James Cromwell play LAPD officers of varying stripes. Pearce's character is a particularly intriguing study in Hollywood amorality and ambition, a strait-laced "hero"; (and son of a departmental legend) whose career goals outweigh all other moral, ethical, and legal considerations. If he's a good guy, it's only because he sees it as the quickest route to a promotion. --Jim Emerson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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The end result is a dark and twisted tale of personal redemption told against the backdrop of the bright lights and sunshine of Hollywood in the early '50's. Hanson contrasts the brightly lit exteriors with the dark storyline of police corruption and Hollywood decadence. This is a movie about facade, not just Hollywood's but our own personal facade as well.
Russell Crowe became a star as LA Detective Bud White, a tough cop willing to do whatever is necessary, something the political up and comer Guy Pearce finds archaic about the force and wants to change. What may stop him from doing so is his investigation of the murder of several people at "The Night Owl" cafe, one of which is Crowe's partner, recently "retired" after a well publicized jail brawl christened "Bloody Christmas" by the papers.
Crowe and Pearce come at this from different angles but the road for both leads right to beautiful Kim Basinger and a millionaire in the lush Hollywood hills played by David Strathairn. There is a reason Basinger looks a little like Veronica Lake the first time we see her in this film, she's suppose to. Hollywood legend has it that a string of expensive call girls were cut to look like stars during the forties and fifties and Hanson has made this darker side of Hollywood part of the story. Basinger is one of the lucky ones, close enough to the actual look of Veronica Lake not to have been cut on.
Crowe falls for the real girl inside Basinger, but in spite of her opulent lifestyle, her low self esteem comes to the forefront when she sleeps with Pearce in an attempt to "help" Crowe. We realize as she nearly destroys Crowe by doing so that she perceives herself as a whore on the inside, beneath the facade. Her logic is as twisted and tainted as the corruption Crowe and Pierce are about to uncover as they follow the trail linking Basinger's "boss" Strathairn to the Night Owl killings and the vice surrounding them on every side.
Basinger deserved the Oscar she garnered for this role and Crowe's performance as the tough cop with some soft spots after all is something you'll always remember. But the coolest job done here is by Kevin Spacey. Hanson told him before filming began to think Dean Martin and he'd have it down pat. Yes indeed! Spacey plays the ultra cool cop, the one in the tabloids for his Hollywood connections. He is a consultant on the TV show "Badge of Honor" (think Dragnet) and is hooked up with slimy but likeable Danny DeVito, a "writer" for a Hollywood tabloid. Spacey grabs the spotlight and DeVito gets the headlines as Spacy collars Hollywood stars in compromising situations, DeVito's camera flashing.
Spacey seemingly has it all, but like the rest of this film, it is just a facade. While sitting in a bar listening to Dean Martin in the background he looks up into the mirror behind the counter and doesn't like what he see's. He has all the tools to be a great cop but he knows he has sold his soul for the fifty in front of him. He becomes involved in the case because of a murder in a hotel room he feels responsible for that leads right back to the Night Owl, and hooks up with Pearce to redeem his soul. You will never forget the name "Rollo Tomasi" or what it means for Pearce, and ultimately Spacey in this film.
Adding to the atmosphere more than just a little is the score by Jerry Goldsmith, his finest work since "Chinatown" and just as haunting. It does more than help enhance the atmosphere, it IS the atmosphere of this one of a kind masterpiece. This film has the kind of ending dreams are made of and someone (I won't give it away) holding up their badge to the oncoming rush of cop cars in the Hollywood hills at night is a scene you'll never forget. There is not a bad performance in this film. It is complex and riveting. If you haven't seen this before, don't rent it, buy it. You'll watch it over and over. But don't tell anyone-this is Off the Record, On the QT, and Very Hush Hush.......!
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