A petty thief posing as an actor is brought to Los Angeles for an unlikely audition and finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation along with his high school dream girl and a detective who's been training him for his upcoming role...
Funny story, tailored for Robert Downey Jr. with a superlative Michelle Monaghan. Val Kilmer shines like in movies some years ago.
2 hours of tedious boring nonsense.
Probably the best thing Shane Black's ever made, and I do not say that lightly, even the worst things he's behind have been okay, and the great (like _Kiss Kiss Bang Bang_) are truly great. The movie that turned me on to lead man Robert Downey Jr., but it's Val Kilmer that steals the show here.
_Final rating:★★★★ - Very strong appeal. A personal favourite._
It's literally like someone took America by the East Coast and shook it, and all the normal girls managed to hang on.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is written and directed by Shane Black. It stars Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan. Music is by John Ottman and cinematography by Michael Barrett.
Small time thief Harry Lockhart (Downey Jr.) is running from the police and stumbles into a movie audition and gets the part! Partnered with private detective Gay Perry (Kilmer), who is to show him the ropes for the part he's to play, things turn just a little weird when dead bodies start turning up in his life
Shane Black's first venture into big feature film directing is a master class of genre bending bravado. The screenplay and script bare all the hallmarks of Black, where anyone familiar with his writing work previously will know where to set expectation levels as per barbed dialogue and blitzkrieg energy. Yet this is very much one of a kind, a standalone of such dizzying thrills and shameless awareness of movie conventions, it practically begs to be visited on more than one occasion.
To simplify it, it's a neo-noir murder mystery bromance romance comedy actioner! OK, so not really that simple, then! Black takes a loving homage to pulp cinema and mixes it with caustic asides to the Los Angeles industry that provides him with work. How wonderful. Downey's (fabulous) Lockhart is the fulcrum, acting as antagonist, protagonist, narrator and a number of other things as Black runs him through the meta mangler. Kilmer (also fabulous) sidles up to deliver sarcasm, machismo and tongue in cheek posturing, the chemistry with Downey concrete. An odd couple pairing beautifully baring fruit, and, well, just beautiful really.
Into the mix is the gorgeous Monaghan, who as Harry's childhood object of affection, is now a failed actress, slightly damaged, but strong and savvy, but also not, an unconditional femme fatale, but also not really! Corbin Bernsen (whose company produced the pic) files in for some joy filled has-been smarm, while sound tracking and photography sit comfortably with the nature of the beast. As a plot it's deliberately complex and convoluted, Black knows his noir onions, but he also wants to put his vibrant stamp on things, so he crowbars the comedy of The Hard Way into the hardboiled haze of The Big Sleep. And it works very well indeed.
Violence is aplenty but very much irreverently played. Murders occur, either by design or otherwise, various body parts get assaulted and they shouldn't make for belly laughs, but they do; and not in some lame Weekend at Bernie's way either. And yet still Black has time to trickle sad themes below the surface, one in particular really hits home and forces the viewer to snap out of the frivolity for some reflection. Make no bones about it, these are damaged characters straight out of noir's dark alleyways in the 40s and 50s. So Capra meets Siodmak - Dmytryk - Mann - Tourneur - Wilder...then?
Smarty pants film making makes for smart entertainment, see it more than once. Hell! See it annually in fact. 9/10