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L.A. Confidential: Special Edition

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A
Video/Audio/Extras: B/A/B+

Directed by: Curtis Hanson
Written by: Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland
Based on the book by: James Ellroy
Produced by: Curtis Hanson and Arnon Milchan
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, James Cromwell, Danny DeVito, Kim Basinger, David Strathairn
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it

Many film fans, whether they care about the Oscars or not, always try and see all the films nominated for Best Picture. So far, I have seen all the Best Picture nominees of 1967, 1990, 1994, 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2005. Now, after watching L.A. Confidential, I have seen all the nominees for 1997 that also consisted of As Good As It Gets, The Full Monty, Good Will Hunting and Titanic. As what usually happens, the worst of the nominees won and not the best. My choice was As Good As It Gets, but I also would have been happy if L.A. Confidential had won. I really like films that pay homage to the features of yesteryear and this detective movie fits the bill with its representation of the 1930's.

Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is a LAPD policeman who is paid by gossip reporter Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito) to give exclusive pre-reports on future celebrity arrests. Edmund Exley (Guy Pearce) is a goody two-shoes cop who believes that the bad police officers should be punished in the same way as the prisoners. When a row on Christmas started by Bud White (Russell Crowe) and his veteran partner Ellis Loew (Ron Rifkin). The next day, Ellis is forced to return his badge and is then found dead, along with many others in a deli. Now, Jack and Edmund decide to find out the motive for the killing and who did it. Meanwhile, Bud falls for a Veronica Lake look-alike, played by Kim Basinger.

L.A. Confidential is an attention-grabbing detective story that will keep you guessing along with the main characters. The two lead Australian actors turn in incredible accents and performances with their potrayals of two detectives who could not be more alike. Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito give the picture a fun side to it as well and they work great together. The film's best performance comes from James Cromwell who plays the police chief of the LAPD. I can't believe he didn't get a single supporting actor nomination from any awards ceremony! The screenplay by Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland is one of the most intelligent I have ever heard coming out of actors' mouths. The sets, costumes and cinematography also give the film its wonderful 1930's look.

This is a DVD from when Warner Brothers liked to insert most text extras on their discs. Thankfully, they are now reducing that special features. However, the text information here is actually very informative and provides a lot of information about that time period as well as other historical events. "Off the Record..." is a very good documentary about making the film and it talks about how director Curtis Hanson got involved with the project, writing the script as well as hiring. I had only seen Guy Pearce before in Memento, so I never heard his natural accent. However, when his Aussie roots came out of his mouth, my respect for him when up because it's completely different from his American voice. It's a great look at the film and hearing Pearce's original accent is especially worth it. Curtis Hanson also provides commentaries for selected scenes about the different sets used in the film. Although, I would have liked to have been provided with a "Play All" function. Finally, the disc caps off with a soundtrack spot, three television promos and the theatrical trailer.

For some reason, I don't see Warner releasing a super-deluxe edition of this soon, so this looks like the best version of the film in the market for a long time. I recommend that you buy this, because I'm sure you will encounter something new each time.

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