DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

L.A. ConfidentialL.A. Confidential: 2-Disc Special Edition DVD


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</script></div>{/googleAds}To put it simply, L.A. Confidential, directed masterfully by Curtis Hanson, still smolders on the screen... no matter the size of the screen. This film is the near-perfect example of a piece of motion picture art where all the components of masterful filmmaking, and I mean every little detail, comes together to form something explicitly timeless. L.A. Confidential just might be Casablanca of my generation. Seriously. Originally released in 1997, this little film, that once won 2 Academy Awards and countless other awards, finally gets its deservedly royal treatment on DVD and Blu-Ray.

At a very basic level, the story is about a crime scene at a diner being investigated by three detectives who are worlds apart in appearance, attitude and action. Be aware, if (for shame!) you've never seen this movie, that basic plot line is deceptively simple and clean; the movie...not so much. Since it was shot for a paltry 15 million dollars, mostly new arrivals to the whole acting scene were cast: Guy Pearce as
Det. Lt. Edmund Jennings 'Ed' Exley, Russell Crowe as Officer Wendell "Bud" White, Kevin Spacey as Det. Sgt. Jack Vincennes, David Strathairn as Pierce Morehouse Patchett, and (in an incredible performance) Danny DeVito as Sid Hudgens.

L.A. ConfidentialAnd then there's Kim Basinger who plays Len Bracken. The minute she appears in the film, you know this woman has seen hard times; she's been through hell and emerged on the other side. She is so rich in this role as an actress. There is a reason why she won Oscar gold with her performance and, trust me, it is a smoking and sultry performance that hits all the right notes. The quiet nuances of her performance might not hit you until the second time you see the film, but she becomes the woman you want to reveal your true self to. She does.

Rest assured, with a talent pool that large know that this is indeed an ensemble piece. Every actor knows his role; they live and breath it and in this newly remastered release of the film, their individual performances transcend into one collective engagement with perfect clarity and picture. Will audiences ever be fortunate enough to get a film with all these actors in it again? We can only hope that fortune will be so kind, but Hollywood budgets will always have the final say in the matter.

So the question is, after ten years, does Curtis Hanson's ode to the L.A. of his youth still hold up? Yes, it certainly does. The film is still a solid adventure through the yesteryears of Los Angeles, but with this viewing, I noticed something different about it. After much reflection upon an earlier judgment I had made about it, I have finally decided that this isn't a throwback to the film noir era, this is something entirely different. While firmly placed in the era of a film like Mildred Pierce, Hanson's film breaks free from all those classic Noir restraints and becomes its own unique creation. Beautifully filmed by Dante Spinotti, who would later shoot The Insider and 2009's eagerly awaited Public Enemies (both directed by Michael Mann), the film is in a category all its own. Sure, it's a period piece, but it isn't, as far as I'm concerned, Film Noir. But that doesn't stop it from being something it has always been... and that's a classic piece of film literature.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
5 Stars
5 Stars
DVD Experience
5 Stars

DVD

DVD Details:

The newly remastered DVD version contains several special features, all containing new interviews with the filmmakers, the actors, and writers/creators of the movie. There is also a music-only track which puts Jerry Goldsmith's haunting score on display only and an interactive map of Los Angeles. The DVD also has the TV Pilot of L.A. Confidential, but this is only for the curious. All in all, the new features are insightful and worth the inclusion.

Screen Formats: 2.36:1

Subtitles: English; French

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; commentary track; Music-only 5.1 track; trailers; featurettes; photo gallery; soundtrack sampler.

* Disc 1
o Commentary
+ Feature-length commentary track with critic Sarris, Author Ellroy, Crowe, Spacey, Pearce, Cromwell, Caster Ruth Meyers, Strathairn, Basinger, Writer Helgeland, PD Jeannie Oppenwall, Cinematographer Spinotti, and DeVito
+ Music-only 5.1 track
+ Trailers
* Disc 2
o Featurettes
+ Whatever You Desire: Making L.A. Confidential (30:00)
+ Sunlight and Shadows: The Visual Style of L.A. Confidential
+ A True Ensemble: The Cast of L.A. Confidential
+ From Book To Screen
+ Off The Record - carried forward from previous SE
+ L.A. of L.A. Confidential - caried forward from previous SE
+ L.A. Confidential - from Television
* Disc 3 - soundtrack sampler
o track listing for the Bonus 3rd CD:
+ Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers -- "Ac-Cent-tchu-ate The Positive"
+ Chet Baker -- "Look for the Silver Lining"
+ Betty Hutton -- "Hit the Road to Dreamland"
+ Kay Starr -- "Wheel of Fortune"
+ Jackie Gleason -- "But Not For Me"
+ Dean Martin -- "Powder Your Face With Sunshine"

Number of Discs: 2 with Keepcase Packaging

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