Directed by Curtis Hanson

Rated R, Released 1997

Starring Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce and Kim Basinger


It is really kind of sad that Titanic won Best Picture in the 1997 Oscars for many reasons. First off, it makes one of the most serious events to happen in the 20th century into a melodramatic love story that contains a bunch of characters (at least for me) that you don’t really care for, and a love story that you cannot really care for either. The biggest reason why it is sad that Titanic won Best Picture is the other movies that it beat out. The nominees started out with As Good As It Gets and The Full Monty, both which weren’t going to win anyway, but then there was Good Will Hunting, which is an outstanding movie (you can see this by the fact it is in my top 20 favorites, and the fact that it has a 97 percent on Rottentomatoes) and most of all, L.A. Confidential.

L.A. Confidential focuses around 3 cops. First, Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) who is the kind of cop who yearns for the spotlight, then Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) who strives to be ahead, and finally Wendell ‘Bud’ White, a violent cop who will break the rules to serve out justice. After a shootout at a 24 hour diner, they each investigate together, using their own unique ways to find who actually is the bad guy.

This film is excellent in so many ways. First off, Almost every performance is memorable in this film. The most memorable performance in fact comes from Guy Pearce. When watching him, you have trouble believing that he is only an actor, as he perfectly captures the man striving to get ahead. Russell Crowe also gives one of his stronger performances of his career, as this is a role that fits him perfectly and his talent is put to its full extent, which is in fact pretty high. Finally, Kevin Spacey does a great job as usual, but it isn’t his career best for a few reasons. First, it isn’t as strong as a character compared to some other roles that he has played or won awards for, such as his career best performance in American Beauty or his outstanding role as Verbil Kint in The Usual Suspects. This is due to the fact that the character that he portrays isn’t a conflicted one, and is more of a showoff, which doesn’t leave off as much leverage for a strong performance than his other roles. In conclusion, he does a great job with his material he proves that he remains one of Hollywood’s greatest actors. Kim Basinger, on the other hand, gives off her best performance (granted i haven’t seen her in many other movies) and fluently gives personality and power to her character. She fully deserves the oscar given to her for her performance in this movie.

Another excellent part of this movie is its script. The script is filled with strong dialogue and clever wording throughout the entirety of the film. Another great part about this script is its story, which is of more thanks to the book that this film is based off, yet it is thanks to this script that this film had such a naturally flowing story line. I also thought that this screenplay was very clever in the way because instead of having a normal flowing plot line like other movies, which tend to focus on one main character and other minor characters, this movie focuses on three different main characters, and intertwines their stories throughout the film. This type of plot could be compared to the movies of Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds, Pulp Fiction) except for the fact that it is all one story and all of the main characters know each other from the beginning of the movie. The format for a traditional Tarantino movie would include a few different stories of people who start out not knowing each other, and then a series of events that end up intertwining each story together. Overall, this movie has an excellent screenplay which definitely deserved the Oscar given to it and the transition from book to movie is basically flawless, making off for a great movie that stays true to its book.

In conclusion, this is an excellent movie that both captures the dark essence of crime in LA, and makes for an engrossing murder mystery filled with great performances, direction and sharp dialogue.

Yoni Gottlieb