Behind the glamorous facade of 1950s Los Angeles, sleaze, sin and scams are the norm. Russell Crowe gives a marvellous performance as a dour detective, tense and supremely confident in his cause (‘How will it look in your report?’ ‘It’ll look like justice!’). His contrasting fellow cops Guy Pearce and Kevin Spacey add their own distinctive twists to the complicated tale, based on James Ellroy’s densely plotted crime novel, while muck-raking reporter Danny DeVito and slinky good-time girl Kim Basinger (in an Oscar-winning turn) are also good value. This lovingly crafted homage to old-style Hollywood police stories oozes style – cop thrillers don’t get any better.