Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #329 L.A. Confidential

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2011 at 1:46 AM

Movie #329 L.A. Confidential

(1997, US, d. Curtis Hanson)

Another film often cited in screenwriting classes, L.A. Confidentials best trait is that it knows where its strengths lie and where it needs to develop them. In this case, it is with the characters. Often when writing a script about such a large ensemble cast, things start to get jumbled. And though a screenwriter’s main job is to create a sense through the mess of varied characters, often it will come off amateurish or just lazy to an audience to watch a film with a large cast we just don’t care much for (Take last year’s heist film Takers as an example). With this script by Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland, this is not the problem. These writers carefully use time and space to develop every character in ways it never seems cheap or purely for a narrative push. These characters have very clearly defined wants and needs and that plays out throughout the film by means of visual avenues, not relying on dialogue to tell the story. These characters, at the core, are simply people but with the writing of these brilliant screenwriters, they look and feel like organic and complex human beings. Add to that the wonderful film noir style director Hanson is able to bring to life on the silver screen here and we have a very interesting film. Layered with great performances from James Cromwell, Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, and Kevin Spacey, L.A. Confidential is a very long film, but it is also a very rewarding one.

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