|Category||Thriller||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 plus 3 TV spots|
|Year Released||1997||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||132 minutes||Other Extras||Featurette - "L.A. Confidential...Off The Record" (19 mins)
Featurette - "The Photo Pitch" (8 mins)
Featurette - "The L.A. of L.A. Confidential"
Featurette - "Soundtrack Promo" (1 min)
Cast & Crew Biographies
Isolated Music Score
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Isolated Music Score (Dolby Digital 5.1)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
L.A. Confidential is a police thriller set in Los Angeles in the 1950s. Land is cheap, food is plentiful, the sun is shining, but L.A. has a nasty underbelly of crime and abuse that this movie sets out to expose.
It tells the story of three policemen, all quite different in their ways, and how they come to expose the corruption within their own ranks. Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) is a very straight cop who plays by the rules, unless bending them will advance his career. He is following in his father's footsteps. Bud White (Russell Crowe) is a thuggish cop. Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is a stylish cop who has lost his soul.
A brutal murder at the Night Owl coffee shop is the centerpiece of this thriller. What seemingly appears to be a straightforward robbery gone wrong gradually unravels to be a far more complex and sinister crime with far-reaching consequences. I won't reveal any more of the plot since it is designed to keep you guessing until the very end.
The world of L.A. Confidential is filled out by a bunch of quite unpleasant characters; there's Dudley Smith (James Cromwell) the police chief, Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito) the gossip publisher who is not above paying to create his own gossip, Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger) the whore and Pierce Patchett (David Strathairn) the smut and whore merchant, intermixed with a host of seedy hoodlums and assorted other low lifes.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer was very sharp at all times, except for the odd scene which was slightly blurred, mainly involving Lynne Bracken's apartment. A significant number of scenes appeared over-sharp, as if they had used excessive amounts of edge enhancement with this transfer. These appeared as scenes with extremely sharp foreground images surrounded by a halo set on a blurred and fuzzy background. I found these images to be quite distracting and hard on the eyes. The background on a number of scenes tended to be quite grainy and hard looking. Shadow detail was mostly superb, with the excessive edge enhancement distracting from the image somewhat. Some low level noise was present when excessive edge enhancement was being used.
The colours were quite sedate and muted in this transfer, presumably by design, though I felt that a few scenes went the opposite way and were oversaturated, such as some scenes in Lynn Bracken's apartment.
No specific MPEG artefacts were seen, though the excessive graininess of the background of the picture in some scenes may have been been related to MPEG compression. Film-to-video artefacts were virtually non-existent, with trivial aliasing present here and there. Film artefacts were excessively common for a contemporary transfer, with a number of scratches apparent throughout the transfer, alongst with a small amount of dirt.
This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 82:44, which is between Chapters 25 and 26. Only a minimal audio and video pause are noticed with the transition. This is a very well placed layer change as it does not disrupt the on-screen action at all.
Dialogue was clear pretty much all of the time, important for a movie such as this one. Some of the dialogue sounded sloppily edited together with odd breaks, as if the ADR hadn't quite been done correctly, but this was a trivial point. There certainly was no problem with the audio sync at all in this transfer.
The music is a mix of period songs from the era and an original score by Jerry Goldsmith. Overall, this is a very nice sounding score with the music blended nicely with the action on-screen. The music is expansive, and spread throughout the sound field.
The surround channels were moderately used for music, effects and some ambience. I felt that a little more could have been made of the surround experience, but overall this was a dialogue-based movie, and so the surround channels were not as important. Certainly, gunshots, especially in the end sequence were very effectively placed all around the sound field.
The .1 channel was used for the music and for effects. It was moderately used.
The video quality has a number of minor issues which detract from an otherwise very good transfer.
The audio quality is good with clear dialogue and a reasonable surround presence.
The extras are comprehensive and interesting, but lacking a Director's commentary.
© Michael Demtschyna
29th December 1998
Addendum 13th March 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer|