Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
"L.A. Confidential" finished at No. 1 in a list of films shot in the last 25 years about Los Angeles culture.
In a poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times, Curtis Hanson's 1997 drama topped P.T. Anderson's "Boogie Nights" and Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown." This means the year 1997 appears to have been vintage for Tinseltown at the movies: the top three films on the list all came out that year.
1. "L.A. Confidential" (1997)
2. "Boogie Nights" (1997)
3. "Jackie Brown" (1997)
4. "Boyz N the Hood" (1991)
5. "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984)
6. "The Player" (1992)
7. "Clueless" (1995)
8. "Repo Man" (1984)
9. "Collateral" (2004)
10. "The Big Lebowski" (1998)
Entertainment News Service
The opening scenes of "L.A. Confidential" are devoted to establishing the three central characters, all cops. We may be excused for expecting that they will be antagonists; indeed, they think so themselves. But the film has other plans, and much of its fascination comes from the way it puts the three cops on the same side and never really declares anyone the antagonist until near the end. Potential villains are all over the screen, but they remain potential right up to the closing scenes. What the three cops are fighting, most of the time, is a pervasive corruption that saturates the worlds in which they move.
The movie also documents a specific time when the world of police work edged into show business. These days, when we can watch video recordings of cops actually busting suspects, when celebrity trials are shown on live TV, when gossip is the prime ingredient of many news outlets, it is hard to imagine a time when crime and vice lived hidden in the shadows. But they did, and the tipping point when that era ended must have been in the early 1950s, with the rise of instant celebrities, scandalous tabloid magazines like Confidential, the partnership between Hollywood and law enforcement agencies and the end of the media's reticence about seamy subject matter. "L.A. Confidential" (1997) shows the current era of sensationalism being born.
The first voice heard from the screen comes from the confiding, insinuating publisher of Hush-Hush magazine, Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito). He sets the tone: "Insiders" know the score and are getting away with murder. His most valued contact is Detective Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), the technical adviser on "Badge of Honor,' a "Dragnet"-style TV show. Jack also stars in some of Hudgens' scoops. They set up celebrities or politicians in compromising situations, Vincennes breaks in to bust them and Hush-Hush gets the story.