The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys ★★

fairly sure that the moral ickiness here isn’t out of uncritical adherence to dominant ideology but because black is failing to achieve verhoevenian transgression—his depictions of so many kids at the periphery of the adult film industry aren’t productively transgressive but carelessly transgressive, especially when compared with the carefulness about kids’ vulnerability & forced responsibility in e.g. moonrise kingdom. he’d require a much, much more careful director to tread the moral & tonal lines properly but i can definitely see a pretty exhaustingly interrogative film in his script—so many bystanders being shot by accident, gosling’s revelation he’s probably invincible, his increasingly implausible escapes from death, and finally his relieved ‘at least no-one got hurt’ (which crowe explicitly challenges!). even the direction occasionally feels like it’s actually competent at making its points, such as the very deliberate push in on gosling’s hand and the rubbed-out ‘never’. so i can see how a lot of this film is pointed in the right direction, including black leaning hard on the fact that crowe & gosling’s disbelief of amelia is precisely what seals her fate. but as it is this is is way too morally messy.

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