The Horror Honeys: 'LA Confidential:' Off the Record, On the QT, & Very Hush Hush...

'LA Confidential:' Off the Record, On the QT, & Very Hush Hush...

An Alternative Christmas with the Honeys Holiday Review by Linnie


L.A. Confidential (1997)

In 1997, I was already firmly in the throes of my love of horror, but the the rest of my world revolved around old Hollywood. I loved everything having to do with Los Angeles in the 50s: blame a childhood obsession with Roger Rabbit, blame that all of my favorite films at the time were made in the 40s and 50s, but whatever you blame, I was infatuated with everything the City of Angels had to offer in an era I could never experience.

Which brings us to Curtis Hanson's L.A. Confidential, which will forever hold a place in my heart as the first movie I found that was well and truly mine. It wasn't a classic introduced to me by my parents and it wasn't a movie I discovered through a weird one-way love affair with Robert Osborne. L.A. Confidential was dirty, and dark, and bloody, and real, and absolutely beautiful, and it was all mine. And not only did it introduce me to a side of Hollywood I never knew (as well as Kevin Spacey), but it inadvertently became one of my favorite holiday movies.

That's right. L.A. Confidential is a movie I save every year for the beginning of December.

And a Merry Bloody Christmas to YOU, good sir.

Bud White: The Nite Owl made you. Do you want to tear all that down?
Ed Exley: With a wrecking ball... You want to help me swing it?

Nothing like a dope bust to ring in the holidays!
The Story: Where to begin? Los Angeles is only the City of Angels if you don't know better. Gangster Mickey Cohen is king, and he runs the town with an iron fist. Cops are on the take, drugs flood the streets, and it's impossible to distinguish the good guys from the bad. When a few moderately honest cops (Russell Crowe, Guy Pierce, and Kevin Spacey) get mixed up in a murder at a diner, they realize the case goes all the way to the top. With the help of a beautiful prostitute who looks like Veronica Lake (Kim Basinger), can three (mostly) honest guys take on a broken system?

"Oh, great. You get the girl, and I get the coroner?"


Without question, L.A. Confidential is one of the greatest Hollywood films ever made. It's also one of the greatest cop movies and one of the greatest gangster movies as well. Based on a novel by the brilliant James Elroy, Hanson and Brian Helgeland adapted a script in which not a single word is wasted. Every syllable has a purpose, and if you watch the film a thousand times, you will never find a plot hole. Considering how many interconnected storylines run through the film, this is a remarkable feat. 


L.A. Confidential is also really fucking funny...

That is "sploosh" level lighting.
Another gorgeous element of L.A. Confidential is DP Dante Spinotti's camera work. I've been a fan of his since Manhunter, but damn if every shot in this movie isn't a treasure. You could pause at any point in the film and be left in awe of his skill. His eye for framing and capturing the absolute best shots (especially when it comes to lighting, for which I'm a sucker) is remarkable. Props as well to the whole set, costume, and makeup crew, who executed a flawless period piece, even though we tend to forget anything made prior to our current decade is considered a period piece.

Jesus H... look at the way she's lit! LOOK AT HER!
Last but not least, L.A. Confidential is enduringly memorable for the performances it brought to us, performances that stand up to this day: Guy Pearce playing a role unlike any he'd played before (or since), Kim Basinger at the top of her game, Russell Crowe in a role made for him and still offering nothing but promise, and Kevin Spacey, reminding us why he deserves all those Oscar nominations. A supporting cast full of industry veterans rounds out a film that will stand the test of time as a true Hollywood classic.

Honey Holiday Tip: If you're a gamer and have ever had the desire to truly experience the Los Angeles of old, you will love Rockstar Games' L.A. Noire. Not only did I blow through it in two weeks, but I actually got teary when it was over, because I could have played it forever. THAT is a good gaming experience, my friends.


Is L.A. Confidential your typical choice for a holiday film? Probably not. But the whole first act takes place on Christmas and that's good enough for me!

Revenge Honey Holiday Rating: 5 Rollo Tamasi's out of 5

L.A. Confidential is available via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Google Play, &
blu-ray/DVD

Do you have a weird movie you watch during the holidays?
Tell Linnie on Twitter: @linnieloowho