L.A. Confidential is perhaps one of the finest film noir movies of the modern era. Perhaps not up to the standards of The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep and Neo-Noir Chinatown, but a great example of the genre. It has been upgraded in its HD debut on Blu-ray, does the format bring the movie to the next generation, or does it show its age? Read on to find out.
L.A. Confidential is a complex film with an all-star cast. The movie is set in Los Angeles in the early 1950s. The cities lead crime boss, Mickey Cohen, has been arrested and there is a void in the city. Someone is trying to replace him and is killing off his crew. This is the backdrop quickly explained via narratives given by gossip magazine reporter Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito).
Now that this high-profile criminal is gone the L.A. police department needs to clean up its image, they can no longer appear brutish and overzealous. Following a happenstance, but very public riot in the main precinct, we are introduced to a capable but violent officer, Bud White (Russell Crowe), an ambitious officer willing to do anything to get ahead, Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), and a degenerate officer Dick Stenslend (Graham Beckel).
Exley offers to testify that Stenslend started the riot and help the precinct save face if he is promoted. White is given a slap on the wrist and is tasked with helping the Captain, Dudley Smith (James Cromwell), to perform clandestine shakedowns of mob agents from other cities.
The story starts in earnest when Stenslend (freshly ‘retired’ from the police force) is found murdered in a coffee shop and a Rita Hayworth look-alike model is found with him. Evidence quickly points towards four colored men as the culprits and a manhunt is instigated.
A celebrity police officer, Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), gets involved and is pivotal in the manhunt, but in the process of the investigation he starts hearing about a club that specializes in celebrity-look-alike escorts. Vincennes starts casually looking into the clues, and becomes truly involved after an ethical mistake he makes causes an innocent death