In a time when it seems that every other movie makes some claim to being a film noir
, L.A. Confidential
is the real thing: a gritty, sordid tale of sex, scandal, betrayal and corruption of all sorts in 1940s Hollywood. The Oscar-winning screenplay is actually based on several titles in James Ellroy's series of chronological thriller novels (including the title volume, The Big Nowhere
, and White Jazz
)--a compelling blend of LA history and pulp fiction that has earned it comparisons to the greatest of all Technicolor noir
. Kim Basinger richly deserved her Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a conflicted femme fatale; unfortunately, her male co-stars are so uniformly fine that they may have cancelled each other out with the Academy voters: Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey and James Cromwell play LAPD officers of varying stripes. Pearce's character is a particularly intriguing study in Hollywood amorality and ambition, a strait-laced "hero"; (and son of a departmental legend) whose career goals outweigh all other moral, ethical, and legal considerations. If he's a good guy, it's only because he sees it as the quickest route to a promotion. --Jim Emerson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.