L.A. Confidential is a crime drama that was released in 1997 and ranks in the top 5 best films of the 1990's. What really makes this film stand out above all others in this decade is the care and attentive detail that was put into the entire project. Each scene feels like a work of art, with such lush cinematography to compliment its glamorous facade. The film is a modern day golden age noir film, and noir is a pretty dated genre. It truly belongs in the 1950's because gangsters were somewhat relevant to the times. Not many gangster films were made long after the 50's, let alone films that were set in the 50's. It's easy to forget that Chinatown is set in the 50's, unlike this one. This isn't exactly a gangster film. It's more of a police drama, and the gangsters are a red herring. It is largely an ensemble piece that jumps between the perspectives of three police officers, Sargent Kevin Spacey, Officer Russell Crowe, and Lieutenant Guy Pearce. It really captures the essence and decadence of the 1950's. In many ways, it is an allegory for the 50's themselves, meaning that nothing is ever as good as it looks, seems or feels, and in fact things are actually shit despite a shiny surface. The 1950's were actually a terrible time to live, but people were expected to believe nothing could be wrong and if you want to do it you can, and all the bad stuff was swept under the rug, which absolutely parallels the plot of this film. After a robbery/shooting in a cafe one night, a case is opened that leads three unrelated members of the L.A.P.D into something much bigger than they all realize. The film appears relatively strait forward in the first two acts, but things slowly come together and the twists keep coming. The overall look to the film is gorgeous, and the look is so genuine, that they easily could have added some tricks in post production to make it look like it was released in the 50's and nobody would ever know. Authentic clothing, haircuts, vehicles and weapons. Not that I would prefer it looking like a classic film. The colors used add a much more lively feel to it, the way black and white can't. Black and white is good for putting emphasis on shadows, but color can add character to the scenery, and even help the scenery in being brought to life. Because, in all honesty, the real main character in the film is the city of Los Angeles. At night with all those lights, it's real pretty, but it's so bright that it can't help but show all the dirt that is hidden in the shadows. It's kind of like Pulp Fiction, where the scenario is the main character, except this is much more focused and narrative, and I think is a superior film.
With a brilliant script, fantastic set and costume design, alluring cinematography, and dynamite performances from its well rounded cast, L.A Confidential is one of my all time favorite films, and it should damn well be one of yours too