I love this movie, the best detective movie since Chinatown. I just watched it again on DVD and enjoyed picking up some nice details- In the first scene, Dick Stensland sits in the back seat of the police car, drinking rum from one bottle and Coke from another. Academy Award winner Kim Basinger is good, but Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey are both terrific. I love Jerry Goldsmith's score too. Detectives Breuning and Carlisle are working for Captain Smith all along. Their performances reveal all sorts of hidden layers when you know what's really going on.
I do have one small problem with the ending: they bring back the Bud White character from the dead! At the end of the Victory Motel gun battle, Captain Smith shoots Bud two or three times before finally shooting him in the face. He should have remained dead, but he gets to ride off into the sunset, in the back of Lynn Bracken's seafoam green sedan, jaw wired shut, and a disgusting tube taped to his cheek. Bracken and White escape to Bisbee, Arizona, where we would find Russell Crowe ten years later, in the film 3:10 to Yuma.