The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys ★★★★★

Perhaps one of the underappreciated films of the last decade, and one that it's taken me far too long to come back around to, The Nice Guys sees Shane Black taking the film noir sensibilities he brought to his writing in films like The Long Kiss Goodnight and combining it with the maximalist direction he brought to Iron Man 3, in a film that frankly deserved to do far better than it did at the time of release.

It's perhaps a cliche to look at a movie like this - a blockbuster that relies for the most part on the movie star charisma of its leads - and say they don't make them like this any more, but it's sadly true. Russell Crowe brings all of his L.A. Confidential energy to Jackson Healy and somehow dials it up even further, and Ryan Gosling, arguably one of the sexiest men in Hollywood, turns in an amazing comedic performance by not being one bit afraid to look like a buffoon. Every time he brings out his high-pitched shriek, it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen, and all from a guy who looks, well, like that.

But it all whips along at wondrous pace, thanks to a super smart screenplay from Black and writing partner Anthony Bagarozzi, as well as direction that is unafraid to wear its classic and neo-noir influences on its sleeve whilst also featuring some slickly designed and shot action sequences belonging to a more straight up Hollywood action movie. Never once does the tone clash or feel off, every joke lands, every moment and twist feels earned.

It's genuinely gutting to me that nobody knew how to market this thing so it would actually make money. In a just world, we'd have gotten four more of these.

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