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Monday, August 25, 2014

Neo-noir Film #6: L.A. Confidential

Good day good people!  Well, here we are at last, the final film of our summer neo-noir film series.  Last week we witnessed Roman Polanski's noir masterpiece, Chinatown, and I don't want to let you guys down so I decided to finish up the series with another entry that just oozes film noir greatness.  Made some 23 years after Chinatown, but in a very similar vein and setting, we come to Curtis Hanson's beautiful homage to the genre: LA Confidential.

L.A. Confidential is a 1997 neo-noir detective film based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel of the same title, the third book in his L.A. Quartet series.  Like the book, the film tells the story of a group of LAPD officers in the year 1953, and the intersection of police corruption and Hollywood celebrity.  The title refers to the 1950s scandal magazine Confidential, portrayed in the film as Hush-Hush.  The film adaptation was produced and directed by Curtis Hanson and co-written by Hanson and Brian Helgeland.

Critically acclaimed, the film holds a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an aggregated rating of 90 on Metacritic.  It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning two:  Kim Basinger for Supporting Actress and Hanson and Helgeland for Best Adapted Screenplay; it lost every other category to Titanic.
Roger Ebert awarded the film 4/4 stars and later added it to his list of Great Movies and said this of the film, "L.A. Confidential is described as film noir, and so it is, but it is more: unusually for a crime film, it deals with the psychology of the characters...It contains all the elements of police action, but in a sharply clipped, more economical style; the action exists not for itself but to provide an arena for the personalities.  The dialogue is lovely; not the semi-parody of a lot of film noir, but the words of serious people trying to reveal or conceal themselves.  And when all of the threads are pulled together at the end, you really have to marvel at the way there was a plot after all, and it all makes sense, and it was all right there waiting for someone to discover it."

As I said, this film is a wonderful example of neo-noir made to replicate the feeling of the noirs of old, and it's a fantastic film.  We will be meeting Thursday, Aug. 28th at 6:15pm, hope to see you there!

Here's the trailer:

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