Saturday, 20 April 2019

Comedy-noir looks buddy marvellous

RYAN Gosling. Russell Crowe. The guy who wrote Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. And

RYAN Gosling. Russell Crowe. The guy who wrote Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. And the guy who produced Lethal Weapon, Predator, Die Hard and The Matrix.

Want to see the film yet? Thought so.

The Nice Guys — tagline: “They&rsquore not that nice” — is the work of writer-director Shane Black and producer Joel Silver.

Gosling plays Holland March, an inept Los Angeles private eye obliged to join forces with goon-for-hire Jackson Healy (Crowe) in order to track down a missing teenage girl. In the process the unlikely duo stumble upon a conspiracy that reaches up to the highest circles of power.

Set in Southern California in the Seventies, the film has been described as a “neo-noir crime buddy comedy film”. Something of a cinematic breath of fresh air, if it all hangs together — and with a stellar cast that includes the likes of Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential) and Matt Bomer (Magic Mike XXL) it has every chance.

“It&rsquos an R-rated film and a caper,” says Black. “It&rsquos a little fast, a little funny and a little rough in places. We&rsquore very much in noir territory but it&rsquos a little bit pushed – everything is a little crazy. It&rsquos really a chance to do the kind of thriller I don&rsquot see too much of any more.”

Following a successful opening in North America, the word is that Gosling and Crowe reveal superb comic finesse and timing in this otherwise tense drama.

The period setting is treated with a pleasing blend of nostalgia and cynicism, with Black out to make the most of Gosling and Crowe.

“I think we&rsquove really lucked out,” he says. “Whether this thing is a comedy with action or a thriller with jokes, one thing that&rsquos very clear is these two are extremely funny.”

The critics seem to agree, with Rotten Tomatoes stating: “The Nice Guys hearkens back to the buddy comedies of a bygone era while adding something extra courtesy of a knowing script and the irresistible chemistry of its leads.”

The Nice Guys is showing at Henley Regal Picturehouse from today (Friday).

Review: Matthew Wilson

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