Wednesday, 27 July 2011

L.A. Confidential, dir. Curtis Hanson, wr. Curtis Hanson, Brian Helgeland, st. Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Danny DeVito, Kim Basinger, James Cromwell

The tendrils of corruption burrowing their way through every corner of the police force and political arena, involving drugs, bribery, prostitution, institutionalised racism, celebrity culture and tabloid journalism. Sound familiar? Of course it does - it's James Ellroy's L.A. Confidential adapted for the screen in 1997 by Curtis Hanson! People have been pondering on the internet what an inevitable film based on recent media events might look like, but I would suggest it's already been made; forget the specific details, corruption is corruption whichever way you spin it. Spacey's great, louche and utterly compelling as ever, Guy Pearce and James "isn't he in Babe?/yes he is, go and watch something else from his 35 year long career" Cromwell are chilling reminders of what idealistic talent can look like when squared up against the dead eyes of administrative wrongdoing, and DeVito deftly encapsulates the Modern McMullan, joyfully employing a whole slew of nefarious tactics in order to get that next great story. But the standout for me is Russell Crow, whom I generally make it priority to hate when seeing him onscreen; when he's not walking out of interviews or throwing telephones at concierges, he's making marvellous in films like this. His Bud White has arguable the biggest character arc in the film, going from Impassioned Simian to bona-fide PO-lice by the film's conclusion.