There are some movies that can capture an audience's imagination from beginning to end. Unfortunately, most of these movies don't see great box-office success, and eventually fall in to obscurity. "L.A. Confidential" is one of those movies.
It most likely would have been a big hit and enjoyed the success it deserves, but it was released during the era of "Titanic," which relegated it, and practically every other movie on the market from that year, into the bowels of the movie industry.
"Confidential" has an all-star ensemble cast featuring Russell Crowe (at his hot-tempered best), Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger and Danny Devito. It's set in the 1950s, as three detectives, with three different methods, a violent type (Crowe), a "golden boy" who is willing to do anything to get ahead (Pearce) and a money hungry "Hollywood type" who consults for a "Dragnet"-like TV show (Spacey), join together to uncover the conspiracy behind a robbery/mass murder at an all-night diner.
In a highly-suspenseful, drama-heavy story that includes everything from lust to backstabbing, "L.A. Confidential" is not like most action-thrillers, that are shoot-shoot-bang-bang-explosions-and-ass-kicking from beginning to end, but the ending consists of an epic gunfight that will have you on the edge of your seat.
With an excellent story, a magnificent cast and dynamite character development, "L.A. Confidential" is definitely worthy of your wallet, easily earning five stars from me.
You can stop reading and go watch it now.