Far and away the real Best Picture of the 1997 year. The perfect combination of story, directing and acting.
I just watched it again today (I watch it every 5 or 6 months) and it still just blows me away.
I think this has to be the best ensemble cast ever.
No real prima donnas (at least at the time it was made) hogging up too much of the screen time.
Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger (though she was the only Academy Award winner for this film, I thought she was rather mediocre), Danny DeVito, David Straithairn, and Alan Rifkin (famous now for his role in Alias).
But the lesser roles had some great cast members. A pre-Guardian Simon Baker (credited as Simon Baker Denny), Matt McCoy (this is the only thing I have ever liked him in other than that episode of Seinfeld…serenity now!), Paul Guilfoyle, John Mahon and Graham Beckel (three great character actors).
Interestingly enough, some of the extras (or rather, one-line parts) were filled with dreadful acting. It makes me wonder if Hanson didn’t have them act that way (straight and over the top delivery) as some kind of homage to the fifties LA cop shows that Badge of Honor represents.
One other knock, I thought they should have had Bud White die. That slightly happy ending was well out of place in a gritty crime noir flick like this one.
Kevin Spacey was just great, as always. His last scene is probably my favorite. Actually, it’s fucking creepy. He stops moving, and you can just see the life go out of his eyes. I have no idea how he managed such a convincing death.
This movie is the one time I found Russell Crowe worthwhile. Can’t knock James Cromwell either, and this was the first major role for Guy Pearce, wasn’t it?
One of my all-time favorite movies; easily one of the best films of the '90s and one of the greatest examples of film noir ever. Perfectly adapted from Ellroy’s novel, and just a flawless movie in every way. I love it!
And for those who share the love, I strongly recommend Ellroy’s “L.A. Quartet” of novels: The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz.