It’s Los Angeles in the 1950”s, when the cops are tough but mostly crooked, bribery is rife, people have lives full of mystery and the tabloids splash the dirty linen of the rich and glamorous Hollywood stars allover their front pages. Things are rarely what they seem. A murder has gone down and the cops are investigating. Three very different officers are on the case, but for different reasons: Ed Exley (played by Guy Pearce) is an ambitious fresh young cop who seeks the truth, Bud White (by Russell Crowe) is an experienced, hard-nosed but sensitive cop who seeks justice at almost any price and Jack Vincennes (by Kevin Spacey) is more interested in Hollywood and making movies, than actually being a policeman. The Chief of Detectives (by James Cromwell) is more shifty than all the rest and he is highly influenced by the politics of the day, so he runs his department accordingly. Bud White takes a fancy to a glamorous call girl Lynn, (by Kim Basinger) who is involved in a business run by an elusive millionnaire (by David Strathairn) and a tabloid journalist (by Danny DeVito) is always close enough to the action to get dirt to publish to his waiting audience.
This is based on James Ellroy’s novel of the same name which forms part of his “LA Quartet”. That was a complex story and this movie also has many facets – but it is entertaining and all the bits meet up at a satisfying end. Watch for a cameo appearance by a very young and fresh-faced Simon Baker too. It’s one of my all time favourite movies.