When it comes to criticizing film adaptations, crime novelist James Ellroy doesn’t mince words, especially with the director’s passing.
L.A. Confidential captured the accolades of critics and audiences alike with the same kind of force that police use in the film. The 1997 crime drama would also introduce the U.S. to rising talents such as Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe, as well as earn an Academy Award for Kim Basinger. L.A. Confidential would be based on the novel of the same name written by esteemed crime novel author James Ellroy. For as much praise that the Curtis Hanson film received, Ellroy is one audience member the movie failed to win over, and according to Variety, he isn’t holding back any punches about it.
Ellroy recently spoke at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this past Saturday and would have a sit-down conversation with fellow crime novelist Michael Connelly, where Ellroy doesn’t mince words about the adaptation. The 75-year-old writer would share his thoughts in an unfiltered manner, “People love the movie L.A. Confidential, I think it’s turkey of the highest form. I think Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger are impotent. The director died, so now I can disparage the movie.”
Ellroy has not held back on his complicated relationship with the film’s director, even being completely blunt about it in a tribute written by him for Variety following Hanson’s death in 2016. He would voice his displeasure with the movie, calling it “problematic” and “emblematic of the Curtis Hanson disjuncture.” Although, he would also praise Hanson’s directing prowess by calling it a “rush of breathtaking craftsmanship.”
“Curtis was movie-mad. The world outside of films escaped his attention to the same extent that films held him spellbound. He mentally cataloged every film he saw and tagged the good ones as learning texts. He was a natural autodidact and a superb film-watcher. He possessed a voyeur’s gaze,” Ellroy then added.
The film explored the subject of police corruption and abuse of power in L.A. However, Ellroy would also discuss his love for them in real life, “I love the LAPD and they kicked my tall skinny [butt] on three notable occasions. I have not stolen so much as a paper clip in 53 years. My relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department is in no way P.C., it’s in no way current, it’s in no way topical. It’s loving. It’s paternal.”
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/l-a-confidential-author-james-ellroy-disparaging-adaptation/