Thursday, June 2, 2016

Movie Review: THE NICE GUYS

Shane Black doing what he excels at most and doing it the very best: The Nice Guys is funny, smart, action packed, violent, irreverent, thrilling and entertaining all at the same time without ever having tonal shift problems. It molds so many elements into one cohesive package that will give you a blast at the cinema and won't alienate you even with the sudden appearance of a giant talking bug in a car.

What has to be addressed immediately is the fact that if there was ever a prize for best on-screen chemistry for 2016 the race is already over as Crowe and Gosling light up the frame with an overwhelming energy, something we haven't seen in quite some time. Their job might be overlooked and discounted by some, but this is nothing short of genius. The way in which these two actors bring to life this story is illuminating, their timing, their banter, their personal dynamic, it is all in the brilliant script, but what the two of them do is elevate it to levels that I think not even Shane Black could have ever imagined. I mean they just had to look at each other for me to curl up in stupid laughter. They don't have a false beat. And when you try to look back and think of who was better as soon as you point to one, you feel like you've made the wrong choice. Crowe's stoicism is played to perfection and when he boils up it pays off incredibly. Then there's Gosling who is recently on a roll; he was a highlight of The Big Short and showed comedic chops I didn't know he had, then comes this into film and if there was ever any doubt of his comedic timing, believe me, it's dead. The way he moves is enough to make you marvel and laugh at what he's doing. He has multiple moments of physical comedy that had me rolling on the floor, not to mention his witty, smart-ass dialogue that he nails.

And we aren't even halfway done with the cast yet, everybody in this film not only is cast perfectly, but kills it. Kim Basinger's casting as a callback to L.A. Confidential is a great choice, but that's not even the best character. Matt Bomer is terrifying as the cold blooded killer and it is so important to be so if you want to give the audience catharsis when the final showdown happens. It is great to see Keith David again on screen in this kind of supporting character role that he always, unequivocally, shines in. He is truly one of the best in my opinion, and can do no wrong. Finally Angourie Rice is a revelation, stealing the movie from Crowe and Gosling so well it feels like this movie is about the three of them together.

Now, all of these actors get the chance to do such amazingly inspired work thanks to Shane Black. His screenplay presents to us a group of characters that are brilliantly well written, developed, and tied into a plot that is absorbing and crazy. I don't know if this film is better written or directed because the two crafts combine seamlessly in this picture. There are so many moving elements and Black keeps up with all of them without ever leaving the audience behind or making them loose interest. Moreover, the way the setting is used is breathtaking and I mean that literally. He makes these characters move through Los Angeles and between a million easter eggs that I'm sure I missed half of, the locations give the film a whole other level of fascination, and has one of the best party scenes in recent memory. The greatness lies in the fact that story and setting feed each other and couldn't be taken apart, bringing to life a visual feast for the eyes that is grounded in story and character.

And there's still much to talk about: soundtrack, action and fight scenes, pace, cinematography, sound, all of these elements deserve a paragraph on their own. The excellence of filmaking on display here is, in my opinion, really remarkable. Does it have faults? Or course: it can occasionally digress into a 70's visual extravaganza just for the sake of it, the plot is thrilling and all, yet come to really think of it, unfortunately, it comes apart slightly too easily, but these are all details that have to be addressed, yet did not take away from the overall experience which is one of the funniest and most thrilling rides of the year, and I cannot wait to check it out again in the theater with a bunch of friends.

James's Score: 8/10

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like it's worth going to see. Great review!