L.A. CONFIDENTIAL is Curtis Hanson’s tabloid tribute to film noir and the sleazy side of ’50s Los Angeles. Based on the work of a native Angeleno, the paranoia prince James Ellroy, the movie gets its galvanizing yin and yang from a pair of Aussies. Russell Crowe’s Bud White and Guy Pearce’s Edmund Exley are the respective brawn and brains of the operation, the good cop/bad cop team that seeks a peculiar kind of justice against a corrupt police department, led by a menacing James Cromwell.
Fifteen years after its release, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL remains a lurid and bracing combination of craft and brazen entertainment. There’s nothing off the record or hush-hush about it: This is one of the great Hollywood movies of its era.
Curtis Hanson wrote and shot for Cinema magazine before breaking into film with his script for the 1978 Canadian movie THE SILENT PARTNER starring Elliott Gould. In addition to his Oscar-winning LA CONFIDENTIAL turn, he’s written or directed a host of stylish Hollywood hits such as THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, WONDER BOYS, 8 MILE, and LOSIN’ IT, one of Tom Cruise’s first movies.