My availability to go to the cinema in recent months has been pretty thin all things said, and in fact the frequency of my reviews in general has been so too. Thank busy schedules for all that. But it was nice to take some time to see a movie on the big screen once again over the weekend, and “The Nice Guys” turned out to be a very good choice indeed.
Set in 1977, this Buddy-Cop, Black Comedy of sorts centres around a Hired Hands (Russell Crowe) and Private Detective (Ryan Gosling) teaming up to solve the mysterious disappearance of a young girl, which connects to the death of a Porn star.
So as far as crazy story plot goes, it is bang on what you want in a Buddy-Cop landscape. And honestly, just what you want the director Shane Black to take on. He has an uncanny ability to take a mad script, and turn it into a rib-cracking comedy. But even so, there are spoilers to going any further with the synopsis, so for those still intent on checking it out, I’ll leave it right there.
I remember seeing the first trailer for this, which instantly sold me on it. It was brutal, with a wickedly dark sense of humour, a great cast, and an aesthetic that still grabs my attention. Maybe it was because I didn’t grow up in the 70’s that I find a fascination with the design and feel of it all. Maybe it is how the design constantly veers between ridiculously lame to undeniably cool, I’m not sure. But here, the film does a fantastic job in re-creating the times. Never once does it feel like a modern movie imitating a 70’s template, you get immersed into the decade and if that’s what you’re out to get, you’ll love it.
The jewel in the crown of this though is without question the script. All the little conversations, even the ones that don’t hold weight to the plot, have been really nicely constructed. And that comedy is a fucking riot at some points, the delivery is harsh and there is no forgiveness about that. Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling work amazingly together, they work wonders on the script in their delivery and natural reactions. Sure, there is one part that mimics a comedic sequence from “The Wolf of Wall Street”, but not directly enough for you to be taken out of the fun.
A surprise hit from here was the detective’s daughter (played by Angourie Rice). There’s always a worry when young kids are brought into Black Comedies where they feel kind of lame or forced into the story. But she is really damm good, even t the point of her character having a small, but fun little arc. She makes a great addition to the team seeking to solve the mystery, and has some very funny moments that when you went into this, you wouldn’t have been expecting at all. Kudos too to Matt Bomer playing a weird, creepy Hitman that totally fits the crazy design this movie set out for.
There could be a lot more to delve into and savour – from the comedic violence of which there are several memorable moments of laughter, how everything is connected together at the end, the supporting cast, and just the banter that goes on providing yet more entertainment. But honestly, if you liked the trailer for “The Nice Guys”, then you have no fears for being disappointed by the feature-length result. It is gritty, clutch-your-sides funny, with a fun 70’s backdrop and soundtrack. Yeah, there’s a few songs I need to check up and listen to again after writing this, come to think of it.
It is always good to find a comedy that hits the target it had set out for itself bang in the centre. It doesn’t happen all that often, and especially so with major releases. I don’t quite feel that it will be considered “great”, but being close enough to that is fine by me. A good contender for Top Ten of 2016, although there are plenty of other movies that could knock it down a few places for sure.
Thanks for reading!