Starring: Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito
Director: Curtis Hanson
A twisting tale of lies, corruption and organised crime in 1950’s Hollywood. The film has an ensemble cast, with a cop who wants to help people (Crowe) even if he has to break rules to do it, a cop who wants to play by the book (Pearce) but also has his eye on the top job, and a cop who wants to be famous (Spacey). They all, in their own way, wants to be a hero, but that means different things to each of them.
They soon find themselves questioning everything, following a multiple murder at an all night cafe in which one of their own is a victim, and several links are forged between the crime and a very exclusive prostitution ring who sometimes blackmails it’s high paying clients, though a group of young black criminals are accused. Nothing is as it seems.
It’s a must see because: Nominated for a whopping 9 Academy Awards, (Kim Basinger winning for Best Supporting Actress), the film is sometimes called the best film of the 90’s. And with very good reason. It intelligently captures a time in Hollywood when everything outwardly was shiny and magnetic, but underneath, was corrupt. The studios owned their stars, people were obsessed with image and glamour, and many an innocent was corrupted by unscrupulous types. It was also a time when newspapers loved exposing stars, and there was no real stop on police brutality, no equality for women or racial minorities. A fascinating place to look set an exploration of organised crime. But it’s not just that: every person in this film is at their best, cast perfectly. And the story has everything, romance, beauty, sex, plot twists you’ll never see coming, complex characters, murder, shoot outs, the lot.
See It If: You love a good suspense or crime film, but for those of you who love the era, you’ll really be rewarded.