L. A. Confidential 「LA コンフィデンシャル」

1999年 4月 06日
作者: Andrew "Nick" Nichols

主演: ラッセル・クロウ、ガイ・ピアース、 キム・ペイシンガー
この作品は アカデミー脚色賞、助演女優賞を獲得し、その他、多部門において ノミネートされた 優秀作品である。 大量殺人を機に ロスアンジェルス市警に 隠れた 不正を 若い有能な刑事が暴いてゆく。 単なる謎解きに留まらず、そこに隠れた人間ドラマは 観るものを最後まで引きつける。 必見の価値のある 傑作である。

As the Oscar nominations for 1999 have just been announced, the last of the five nominations for 1998, "L. A. Confidential", has just been released on video in Japan. It is for me of those five by far the most powerful, compelling and memorable.

The blurb on the jacket says "Everything is suspect…everyone is for sale…and nothing is what it seems" and there is no more accurate description for this movie. Condensed from a novel covering three years, a hundred characters and with six fully developed plot lines, the movie is complex and the interplay of the characters and the twists and turns of the plot must be followed closely.

The scene is Los Angeles of the fifties, accurately and stylishly recreated. A multiple murder in a downtown restaurant serves as the catalyst to exposing corruption in the L. A. Police Department. Central to that exposure are the two young heroes of the piece, two morally opposite characters, both driven by childhood tragedies. Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) is a straighter than straight cop, son of a detective killed in the line of duty by an unknown assailant. Described by his captain, Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) as a political animal, lacking the stomach for "real" police work, including shooting a suspect in the back, Exley’s personal drive to excise his childhood pain sends him up the promotional ladder with deft, holier-than-thou skill. Bud White (Russell Crowe) is pure, seething power, that erupts in extreme violence when confronted with any reminders of his witnessing the beating murder of his mother by his father. White’s gentler, thinking side is brought to the fore when he meets Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger), a high class prostitute sold as a Veronica Lake look-alike by her debauched, debonair pimp, Pierce Patchett (David Strathairn). The hate between the two cops seems set to destroy them both, until a shared encounter with the irresistible Bracken leads them to uniting against the overwhelming crookedness of the system driving them against each other.

The complexity of the film, and the setting, is reminiscent of the brilliant "Chinatown" with Jack Nicholson, and there are echoes of "The Usual Suspects", more than just in the brooding presence of Kevin Spacey as the tainted exhausted Sergeant Jack Vincennes.

Don’t be put off by it’s complexity, things do come to a neat conclusion, possibly a little too neat, but it’s truly worth the effort. It is, for me the pick of the bunch from last year’s Oscar nominees.