Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Top Ten Films Adapted From Novels No# 1: L.A. Confidential Written By James Ellroy


Deemed boastfully by its author the incomparable James Ellroy as uncontainable and unadaptable, L.A. Confidential is quintessentially noir, unmistakably gritty, easily sultry, narrative wise graceful. Adapted by Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson and directed by Hanson as well, L.A. Confidential set in early 1950's Los Angeles, the film revolves around three LAPD officers caught up in corruption, sex, lies, and murder following a multiple murder at the Nite Owl coffee shop. Our main characters are as followed Officer Wendell "Bud" White, imposing, violent, feared, protector of women. Sgt. Edmund Exley, the son of a legendary LAPD Inspector, brilliant officer in his own right, determined to out do his father, cold demeanor all contribute to his social isolation from other officers. Sgt. Jack Vincennes, slick as slick can be, technical advisor on the television cop show Badge Of Honor, never saw a bribe he didn't like if it concerned a good narcotics collar, can't remember why he became a cop. Within the action, suspense, and romance, is a wonderful example of character study. These men have made choices in life that haven't been morally acceptable. Within the journey of this story, they are given the opportunity to not invent the wheel in determining what is moral superiority, but just simply do right. This is a film rich in visual aesthetic. The way Chinatown exuded 1930's postwar Los Angeles off the celluloid, L.A. Confidential provides the audience with an equally delicious feast for the eyes.
In a movie like this, there are always the scene stealing supporting characters. Kim Basinger as the Veronica Lake look-a-like Lynn Bracken. David Strathairn as the entrepreneur/pimp Pierce Patchett. Danny DeVito as the sleazy tabloid writer Sid Hudgeons. The list goes on. They all contribute wonderfully to the greatness of this film. I submit to anyone reading this L.A. Confidential is one of the greatest American films ever made. If you've never watched it, give it a chance, you will not be disappointed.

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