Film: Choice

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The full-voiced chorus of approval that greeted the splendid LA Confidential was perhaps a little over-enthusiastic. "The new Chinatown," they cried. Now, hang on a minute. LA Confidential is terrific (except for the last five minutes - discuss) but I have to agree with the reader who wrote to me to point out that one should not get carried away, for it pales in comparison with this 1974 classic. There was a time when cineastes would pronounce upon the impossibility of shooting film noir in colour, but the superbly suppressed colours in John A Alonzo's cinematography proved them wrong. Although nominated for 11 Oscars, screenwriter Robert Towne was the only one who walked home with a new ornament for his mantelpiece. A shame because with the possible exception of Tess, Polanski hasn't made a decent movie since then. One of the (few) key films of the Seventies.

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