The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys ★★★★½

Best thing: The endless carnage in this film where background characters regularly take direct hits when caught in the crossfire is hilarious. When our protagonists manage to avoid getting shot in this urban setting, in most cases some innocent bystander ends up being gunned down instead.

Worst thing: Kim Basinger has a pretty small role as a pretty cold character which somewhat suits her wooden performance. I'm also a bit confused as to what our protagonists believe they are doing with a case full of money at one stage.

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe turn out to have some great comic timing. Crowe plays a thug-for-hire with aspirations to become a private detective, while Gosling plays a private investigator with money troubles.

We are also introduced to Angourie Rice who plays Gosling's pro-active daughter. (She's no sooner met Crowe than she's trying to hire him to beat up one of her friends.) She actually somewhat reminded me of the girl in the cartoon 'Inspector Gadget' (though naturally she wasn't regularly getting out a computer to communicate with a dog). She's regularly going off to try to find things out herself, thanks to Gosling's lax parenting.

It seems that I was laughing a lot more than the rest of the audience. Clearly the nihilistic violent black comedy appealed to me quite specifically. Is it twisted that I was laughing out loud whenever an innocent bystander was killed? There are several points where the characters are dodging gunfire or wrestling with a gun and it's a bizarre how direct these accidental shots end up being. It's like nearly every bullet that misses the protagonists is a direct hit on an unfortunate individual.

The humour is very similar to the kind found in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and both films are detective stories only with bumbling amateur(ish) detectives. With Nice Guys, however, the big focus is the setting of the 70s. The aesthetic of the film is very colourful and distinctive and it really pulled me in.

Hilarious, action-packed, well-acted, characterised by Shane Black's distinctive style and with quite a smart little mystery at the centre of this bizarre nihilistic world. This is a strong favourite for me.

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