Tag Archives: LA Confidential

Cop: is it the best movie ever made of a James Ellroy novel?

CopI’m going to go way out on a limb here, and say that in my opinion the relatively unknown movie Cop may just be the best adaptation of a James Ellroy book to hit the screen.

When I opened my recent review of the 1988 film Cop for Back Alley Noir’s Film Noir of the Week with that statement the response was interesting.

Some disagreed with the merits of my choice. Others felt the need to refer back to what the man himself, Ellroy, had said about the merits of the movies made of his books.

I did a quick search on what Ellroy has said on the subject before submitting the review. There’s a lot of contradictory quotes out there. Whether this is because he’s changed his mind a lot or he’s out for a headline, well, I’ll let you all be the judge of that.

For me, the debate raised the interesting question of what value we should give to the opinion of an artist in one area (writing), when their work is translated into another (film).

I am a huge Ellroy fan and I think Cop works as a movie precisely because the book is not a dense, labyrinthine crime epic in the vein of LA Confidential and the Black Dahlia (both of which failed, Black Dahlia much more so, in the almost Herculean task of transposing Ellroy’s words onto the screen).… Read more