Movie Review: ‘The Nice Guys’
Director: Shane Black
Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Kim Basinger
Plot: Portly enforcer Healy crosses paths with depressed, alcoholic private detective March when they’re both get caught up with Amelia, a young woman who has many dangerous people looking for her.
Review: I love Shane Black. He was in Predator, he wrote the best Lethal Weapon movies and The Long Kiss Goodnight and, best of all, he directed Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Also Iron Man 3, one of the ten biggest money earners in cinema. But Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. That movie is a masterpiece. I wanted a sequel so very, very much. It didn’t happen, but we have The Nice Guys, very much in the vein of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. They’re both buddy cop action comedies set in LA and dealing with kidnappings, debauchery and corruption. And both are cool as.
The Nice Guys in tonally different, somewhat due to the 1977 setting. Whilst Black’s directorial debut geared more towards comedy, The Nice Guys is more brutal. The violence is jarring and often cringe-inducing (although never gratuitous), giving the movie a real edge. It’s tense during the action and funny during the comedy. Gosling in particular is on form showing brilliant comedic timing that makes us wonder why we’re not seeing him in more comedy movies.
The real star is the script. That dialogue is razor sharp and flows effortless back and forth between the leads. To throw out a movie review cliche, it has a staccato rhythm. Black made a name for himself giving stars amazingly quotable dialogue to chew on and he’s only gotten better with practise. It’s a slick looking film, tightly shot and influenced by the directors who defined the 70s and the era of Film Noir and Black’s skill behind the camera is on par with his writing. His next project is a new ‘Predator’ movie. We want to see that right now.
It’s hard to get a handle on the plot from the trailers and synopsis because it is laid out in an unusual way. We get the perspective of Healy and March from the beginning of the film but they’re completely clueless as to the extent of the case they’re on. We actually get introduced to Amelia very early in the film but have no idea of her significance in the story until later in the piece. It’s a slow roll out not only of the mystery but the characters themselves. We only get shades of the character’s back story, with only clues as to how March winded up the way he did scattered throughout the movie. Unlike most modern films we don’t have the story spoon fed to us through tired exposition.
Then there’s Angourie Rice. We saw her in amazing Australian film These Final Hours (also check out our interview with that film’s director to find out more about Rice), and she blew our mind. She put in an incredibly talented performance in a challenging role, and now she’s in a big time Hollywood movie playing Ryan Gosling’s daughter. Again she steals the film, playing a young character carrying her own baggage while proving herself in a dangerous world. She’s a talent to watch in the coming years.
End of the day, Shane Black has given us another awesome action comedy. If I was in charge of the world I would make it law that he would do this every year.
Review: NINE out of TEN