Hush, hush The 11th Issue
Written by Corey "The Screenwriter" Wood.
Published on: January 31st, 2011
For years now a question has boggled my mind to the choice in which "Titanic" won Best Picture of 1997. Don't get me wrong here, folks, "Titanic" is great movie, but, it is nowhere near the cinematic masterpiece that "L.A. Confidential" is. From the perfect look of 1950's Hollywood to the fantastic performances by our main three stars, this is the film that deserved itself the win in 1997. Yet since then, its only been more faded away from audiences. How is it that this film became forgotten? This, ladies and gentlemen, is a true classic, and masterpiece, and I dedicate this issue of "Hush, Hush" to explain why.
"'Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are wide and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap. Every working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a happy, all-American family. You can have all this, and who knows... you could even be discovered, become a movie star... or at least see one. Life is good in Los Angeles... it's paradise on Earth." Ha ha ha ha. That's what they tell you, anyway."'---These first lines from the film are a voice-over from Danny DeVito's character, Sid Hudgens. It gives you the warm, happy feeling of what Los Angeles is like, and then gives you the real scoop that instantly tells you what the film will focus on: The real L.A. This movie doesn't focus on the beauty and fame of movie-stars, it focuses on the behind-the-scenes brutality that goes on the mean streets of L.A. and does a fantastic job doing it.
The movie, as I already mentioned, takes place in 1950's Los Angles. It gives you a real seedy backdrop of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. The film takes focus on three different men looking at three different cases. First, there is Ed Exley, an ambitious young officer looking to become a detective, and at any means. Even if he must rat out fellow officers after the "Bloody Christmas" fiasco. After a big murder case, Exley proves himself to be a hero, but isn't happen with the closing cases results. Now we move on to Bud White, Exley's big rival in the department. White is a cop who shoots first and asks questions later and its kept him from being a detective in his time with the academy. After the death of his recently fired partner, White wants in on being apart of solving the murder and discovers a organization where call-girls are cut-down to look like movie-stars. Soon, White becomes involved with one. Then, there is Jack Vincennes, a narcotics who takes more pride than he deserves. Also being a technical advisor for big-hit police series, "Badge of Honours", Vincennes stands as the big-boy of the department. He works closely with Sid Hudgens, editor of "Hush, Hush" magazine (the magazine I themed this review as). They both trade information, so Jack can make good busts, and of course, Sid can create good stories. These three different cases soon all tie together and the men all become opposed to who they can actually trust.
Its easy to say that all three male-leads here deserves some Oscar-nods but they all cancel each other out making it hard for the Academy to even nominate them. It's quite a shame, actually. 1997 was a great year for cinema. Also a great year for some major Hollywood newcomers with wonderful talent. There was Winslet and DiCaprio as lovers in "Titanic", Mark Wahlburg and Julianne Moore in "Boogie Nights", Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as best pals in "Good Will Hunting", and then there's "L.A. Confidential", a film that presents three fantastic stars who went on to do great things after this film. Spacey had just won Best Supporting Actor for "The Usual Suspects", Crowe went on to get nominated for three Oscar-nods, one he won for "Gladiator". And Guy Pierce starred in Christopher Nolan's classic mind-bender, "Memento". The three not getting a nod wasn't such a bad thing after all, was it? Guy Pierce here plays Ed Exley, a character you instantly dislike in the films beginning. Pierce does a fantastic job playing a "by the rules" kind of officer but the change in character toward the end is marvellous, and Pierce stays strong with the role all the way to the end and it helps to actually make the character quite likable. Russel Crowe gives his first major performance here as Bud White, the violent cop, as I already mentioned. Crowe's grit brought to the role is astonishing. Bud White has got to be one of my most favorite Officers of the law in cinema. He's brutal, funny, and a really loveable character. Kevin Spacey does a pretty good job playing Jack and his chemistry here with DeVito's Hudgens is priceless. Supporting actors like Kim Basinger, who won an Oscar for her role in this film and that draws me to my next topic. How did Basinger win, or even better, get nominated? While her performance is very suddle and a joy to watch, I just don't understand how she got nominated over any of the film's three main stars. Its another question that pops into my head from this film that has dazzled me for a while. As for other supporting stars, like James Cromwell, all is performed wonderfully.
Curtis Hanson does a beauteous job creating the look of 1950's Los Angeles. Hanson, who never even got an Oscar-nod for Best Director surely deserved one. His bright, text'd colours used on the film are marvellous and his work on "L.A. Confidential" have got to be some of the best done on the look of 1950's Hollywood ever. Here folks, is another question that raises my mind from this film. How did he not even get nominated? The screenplay, written by Brian Helgeland, is a fantastic, very well-made piece that shows the real grit behind Los Angeles that none have never really witnessed before. Recently reading the script online, I got the chance to see how well Helgeland's dialog comes to full amazement and works perfectly. The script may be a little lengthy, but always stays fresh, entertaining, and by the end I wanted more.
In the end, its no surprise that "L.A. Confidential" is a cinematic experience that shouldn't be forgotten. So why has it? With wonderful performances, a great look of the 50's in L.A., a great script, and a murder-mystery that'll have you guessing till' the end, it's a shame this movie didn't get as much credit as it deserved. This, my friends, is a rare-gem very worthy of your time. Remember, my dear readers, you heard it here first, off the record, on the Q.T. and very hush, hush!
-The New Screeny!