Curtis Hanson, USA, 1997o
Three police officers, who initially can't stand each other, get on the trail of the white-collar criminal machinations behind a murder case in 1950s Los Angeles. Although for the longest time the three heroes tend to work against each other rather than together, their investigations gradually complement each other to form the overall picture of a corruption affair that takes hold of the city's business and political leaders and ultimately leads them into their own circles.
With rare virtuosity, this neo-noir plays a game with appearance and reality, the sunny-clean image and the racist-corrupt reality of the booming post-war city of Los Angeles. The sophisticated thriller plot based on the novel by James Ellroy shows the mafia-like penetration of the police, politics and the entertainment industry so casually that the full scope of the events is only revealed at the end. The set is a feast for the eyes, the star ensemble acts with obvious pleasure in the cunning or driven attitude of the characters, the dialogue is full of double bottoms, and the veteran Curtis Hanson, who died in 2016, outgrows himself on this material. Was there a better American thriller in the 1990s? - OK, that was also the decade of The Silence of the Lambs, Basic Instinct and Misery, not to mention Seven or Heat ... But if you are looking for comparable sophistication and complexity, you have to go back to Chinatown, Touch of Evil or The Big Heat, quite a long way.Andreas Furler