This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Brian Sweeney’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Why did you want to become a cop?
It's a question asked multiple times throughout LA Confidential. Bud's father beat his mother to death and left Bud chained up to a radiator to die. Ed's father, a widely respected police officer, died in the line of duty. Both Bud's father and Ed's father's shooter were never caught. These two officers have completely different styles, but both became cops to seek justice that they were unable to have in their own lives. But whether they want to bring that justice through civility or in a more Old Testament way, they are operating in a system with predetermined outcomes. People don't answer for their wrongdoings in a system so morally bankrupt and corrupt. At least not the ones they actually commit.
You see, that's why I read the ending differently than most. I've seen a bunch of reviews that see it as too clean an outcome for their situation, but I actually see it as much more depressing and nihilistic than that. Bud and Ed solve the case, but in doing so they both become the type of person they hate most in this world. It doesn't get much bleaker than that.