I wanted to watch this movie right from the moment of its release more than six years ago, but for one reason or other I never got around to do it...until now. Luckily I did not continue procrastinating, because this is probably one of the best movies in the film noir category.
The story, based on the novel by James Ellroy, starts with Danny De Vito's narration of the latest events in the city of angels, which include the arrest of Mickey C, head of the organized crime. I have always enjoyed listening to De Vito narrate a story, and as happened in "The War of the Roses", I was enthralled from the beginning. De Vito plays a journalist working for a tabloid called Hush-hush, who has several contacts inside the police department that give him exclusives in exchange for publicity. One of these is Sergeant Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), a classic "ladies man", interested in fame and in the Hollywood world much more than he is interested in police business. Vincennes works in the same precinct with Sergeant, soon to be Detective Lieutenant, Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) and with Officer Bud White (Russell Crowe). Exley is the typical "go by the book" guy, son of a famous officer murdered years ago in a crime that was never solved. White is a cop whose main interest is helping ladies in distress, playing a typical knight in a shinning armor. After a situation at the police station ends up in disaster, the relationship among the three policemen is turned into a confrontational one when White's partner is forced to quit his job.
Shortly after those events a multiple murder in the Night Owl will have the three policemen desperately trying to solve the same crime and facing a well-oiled criminal organization. At this point the plot and relationship between the characters acquire an amazing depth and keeps the audience guessing right until the end. The performances of Spacey, Pearce and Russell are laudable, and the appearance of Kim Basinger, as a high-class prostitute, adds the missing element to complete an extraordinary cast. The movie has everything one in this genre should have, suspense, action, mystery, thrills, betrayal, love and even humor! I will probably watch this movie again soon because I know I will enjoy it a second time. If you have not seen it yet, I recommend you do it as soon as possible.