I saw L.A Confidential the first time when it released, and I enjoyed it very much, but really all memory for this movie was drowned when I saw Titanic a week or so later. If you asked me anything about this movie, the only thing I would have remembered is the call girl angle, nothing else…not even Russell Crowe.
I remedied that injustice when I saw the movie again last week, and I was totally blown away by the movie. I think I am now older enough to appreciate the technical skills behind the movie – the awesome dialogues, the tight script, the scene and character setting, everything…
To summarize the movie, I use the narrator’s voice-over that happens at the beginning of the movie:
Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are wide and inviting, … there are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap. Every working man can have his own house, and inside the house a happy, all American family. You can have all this, and who knows, you can even be discovered – become a movie star or at least, a singer. Life is good in Los Angeles: it’s paradise on earth. (Laughs sarcastically) That’s what they tell ya’, anyway, ’cause they’re selling an image. They’re selling it through movies, radio, and television.
What a line to draw in a viewer, and when narrated by Danny DeVito…it was simply awesome. The movie simply takes off from there. It’s a story of 3 totally different types of cops (played by Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, and Guy Pierce), and how they all investigate a mass killing that takes place in a diner. These 3 cops don’t like or trust each other; departmental politics also hinder the investigation, but they manage overcome all these issues and work together to find out the killer.
Officer Bud White (Russel Crowe) is the old-fashioned brutal police officer who hands out his own brand of rough justice, but he has a soft spot for women in distress. Ed Exley (Guy Pierce) is strait laced, a by the book kind of cop, and a bit of a political animal, and Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is the larger than life cop who is totally in it for the money and the kickbacks. I loved the way all the 3 characters were written and acted out. Brilliant under-stated acting!
Apart from these 3, there are sundry other characters – the most notable being Kim Basinger as a Veronica Lake lookalike call girl. Don’t be fooled by the movie poster, she is not the main character, but she does have a decent-sized role, and plays it well. She won an Academy Award for this role, though, and I don’t think she deserved it…her acting was not all thaaat great.
The story is based in LA in the 1950s and the setting and the language (they spoke in a different way back then) is perfect. Even the costumes are hot. In fact, this is one good-looking movie ;). And since, it’s got a lot of substance as well, I spent an enjoyable 2/2.5 hours just savouring all the gorgeousness, the awesome dialogues, and the kick-ass plot. A must-see.
Note: This movie is based on the book L.A Confidential by James Ellroy, and I have heard that the plot adheres to the book quite closely. This makes me really want to try out this novel, and other novels written by Ellroy. Has anyone read this book? How does it compare to the movie?
On the other hand, another movie I recently saw was such a disappointing wash-out. This was De Dana Dhan – a Bollywood comedy starring Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Sunil Shetty, Neha Dhupia, and tons of other supporting characters.
Here’s the synopsis from IMDB
Singapore-based Nitin Bankar’s education was paid for by his employer, Kuljeet Kaur, and he, after the passing of his father, works as an unpaid maid-chauffeur for her until such time he pays off whatever she had spent. He is in love with gorgeous Anjali Kakkad but her father refuses to give his consent for this alliance. Desperate to get out of this situation, Nitin attempts suicide, albeit in vain, and then cooks up a scheme to abduct Kuljeet’s pet dog, Mulchand, demand a hefty ransom, and then marry Anjali. He seeks help from his equally deadbeat friend-courier deliveryman, Ram Mishra, who wants to wed tall and pretty Manpreet Oberoi, and both book a room in Pan Pacific Hotel. However, Murphy’s Law and a host of assorted characters get involved – resulting in hilarious and uncontrollable chaos.
The movie was just terrible. It starts off very blah. The comedy improves somewhat after the introduction of the supporting characters and the comedy of error scenarios in the hotel were somewhat funny. I say somewhat because well, comedy of errors/mistaken identity is such a stale comedic plot-line. It’s been around from Shakespearean times, and it’s entertaining only if there is a fresh take on it, or extremely talented star cast. All these actors have played variations of this comedy in umpteen movies before, and the staleness kinda shows. Nothing new or unexpected in the plot-line at all, and the huge star-cast kind of takes away from the main story. Wait, maybe that was the intention….there was no story after all.
Still, it did help me kill a couple of lazy hours on the weekend. Recommended only if you are on the lookout for brainless comedy – and even then there are tons better options out there.