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Just a Damn Fine Film

l.a. confidential (1997)

Three cops, a Veronica Lake look-a-like, and a murder scene that doesn't add up.

Curtis Hanson

James Elroy (novel)
Brian Helgeland
Curtis Hanson

Dante Spinotti

Kevin Spacey
Russell Crowe
Guy Pearce
James Cromwell
Kim Basinger
Danny DeVito



L.A. Confidential Poster

It all boils down to the murder at the Nite Owl Cafe. Who killed Dick Stensland and the others that were there that night? Why? The search for answers to these questions is the starting point for the film. And it only gets more complicated.

I never get tired of watching this film. The main reason? The acting. Every single person in this film gives an amazing performance. The second reason? It's a great story - very well planned and executed. All the characters grow and change as the movie progresses without it being extremely obvious that they are doing so. Very cool.


Kevin Spacey. Once again, he brings depth and personality to a character that could essentially be one-dimensional.
Russell Crowe. He's great in this film as Officer Bud White - the cop who has this thing about men who abuse women.
Danny DeVito. Fabulous role for him as the editor of Hush Hush magazine.
Guy Pearce. Great performance as Lieutenant Detective Ed Exley.
Kim Basinger. Fabulous. She won the Oscar for a good reason.
The costumes. They are incredible - as are the cars, houses, hair styles, etc.


Bud pulling the Santa off the roof and then going after the wife beater - great intro to his character. He cuffs the guy to the railing and then gets the money from the guy's wallet, gives it to his wife - makes sure she has some place to go. As she's walking away, he lifts the string of lights for her to go under - just the little touch that helps you to understand him.
Captain Smith questioning Exley about what he will The Movie Premiere Pot Bustand will not do. Granted, you know this is going to resurface later in the film as soon as you see it, but that's ok.
Movie premeire pot bust. This is hilarious. Vincennes walking in and saying "Freeze. Police" with no conviction behind it at all. Fabulous. Walking out into the floodlights and the cameras. Very cool.
Second meeting between Bud and Lynn. The chemistry is fantastic right off the bat. She tries to get him to be more familiar by saying "It's Lynn" but he continues "Miss Bracken". And then Lynn says "You say fuck a lot" and Bud retorts "You fuck for money". I love this scene.Vincennes crisis of conscience
Exley's interrogation of the three suspects in the Nite Owl Cafe. This is really cool. His manipulation of the first guy is fantastic.
Vincennes crisis of conscience in the bar. This is where the magic of Kevin Spacey shines. You can tell it all on his face. (Plus, the visual of the liquor being poured behind the $50 bill is cool, too.)
Exley talking to Vincennes about the Nite Owl killinLynn Bracken at the liquor storegs and why they became cops. Once again, Spacey shines. He is amazing.
Lana Turner. I love this scene. I love Vincennes' face in the car after they leave as he breaks into laughter.
Vincennes visit to Smith. SPOILER.
Bud looking at the photos of Exley and Lynn in the rain. It's a terrific scene visually - with him backing up, the rain on the photos, dropping the photos onto the ground. Very cool.
Bud confronting Exley about Lynn - the look on Exley's face when he sees the photo that Bud has.
Bud and Exley's visit to the District Attorney. Very good rendition of Good Cop/Bad Cop.
Shoot out at the Victory Motel. This scene has "film noir" stamped all over it - the light streaming in through the blinds and bullet holes. Lots of shadows. Very cool. SPOILER.
Exley smiling in the interrogation room at the end. This is perfect.Bud White


Edmond, you're a political animal. You have the eye for human weakness, but not the stomach. - Dudley Smith
At least get rid of the glasses. I can't think of a single man in the bureau who wears them. - Smith
But it's nice to know you care. - Lynn Bracken
Hey White, you'd better put a leash on your partner before he kills someone. - Jack Vincennes
He's very serious. - Vincennes
I'm just the guy they bring in to scare the other guys shitless. - Bud White
She is Lana Turner. - Vincennes
I see Bud for all the ways he's different from you. - Lynn
Don't start trying to do the right thing boyo. You haven't had the practice. - Smith
Reciprocity, Mr. Hudgens, is the key to every relationship. - Smith
Call it a hunch. - BudSid Hudgens
Pull him off me, Exley! - D.A. Ellis Loew
- I don't know how. - Ed Exley
Is that how you used to run the good cop/bad cop? - Exley
You're the guy who gets away with it. - Exley
Hold up your badge so they know you're a policeman. - Smith
A hero - In this situation, you'll need more than one. - Exley
Some men get the world. Others get ex-hookers and a trip to Arizona. - Lynn