According to Rotten Tomatoes, “L.A. Confidential” is Russell Crowe’s finest film, and we’re hard-pressed to disagree. Directed by Curtis Hanson and co-written by Brian Helgeland, “L.A. Confidential” is the definitive film noir detective story of its generation, if not of all time. Based on the 1990 James Ellroy novel, “L.A. Confidential” is set in the early 1950s and explores classic film noir themes, like corruption in the justice system and the dark cesspool that sits just beneath a facade of Hollywood glamor.
Crowe plays Bud White, a tough-as-nails cop who takes great pleasure in taking down criminals, particularly those who hurt women. He’s paired up with Guy Pearce as Edmund Exley, a cop trying to live up to the legend of his late father. Together, they fight crime and each other while trying to uncover a sinister conspiracy involving their boss at the L.A.P.D. (James Cromwell).
“L.A. Confidential” was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $126 million worldwide off a budget of just $35 million. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning for Best Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress (Kim Basinger). It wasn’t his first American film, but “L.A. Confidential” was the film that turned Russell Crowe into a major Hollywood star. Plans for a sequel have bounced around Hollywood for years, but nothing has come of it yet. Still, fans continue to hold out hope that White and Exley may one day return to root out corruption in the City of Angels.