The best news about Curtis Hanson's truly terrific picture is that it treats its audience seriously. It comes as an enormous breath of fresh air to be treated like a grown-up in the cinema these days, when all about you are making cinematic trash to be consumed like so much popcorn. It's a satisfyingly complex procedural thriller, but the twists make real sense rather than just playing you for a sucker with hidden information. Even more startling is the script's depth of characterisation which the actors leap upon with almost indecent relish. Guy Pearce, previously seen preening and queening in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is hugely impressive as the clean cop with ambition and Russell Crowe does a tremendous job as a man with a mission. The honours, however, go to Kevin Spacey who does more with a look than most actors manage with a page of script.
LA Confidential, on general release