I was lucky enough to see this movie a couple of weeks ago,but haven’t been able to write about it because of some sort of media embargo. Seems they didn’t want any details leaking before they premiered at Cannes. I can see the reasoning behind that. But as a review from Cannes has been posted, I think I can finally add my two cents about how awesome a movie The Nice Guys is!!
To start, it’s directed by Shane Black, the guy apparently responsible for creating the Lethal Weapon movies (the first of which I only just saw last week…), and thus is kind of the progenitor of the buddy cop movie. He’s a big fan of the film noir style of the 70’s it seems.
He’s also apparently a fan of porn, parties, and conspiracies, which are central to the plot progression of this film.
One of the things I really love about this movie is how strongly they stuck to the idea of this being a 70’s movie. Check out this retro style trailer that was made for the film:
That is some dedication, right there!
But it accurately prepares you for the tone of this film.
Our “nice guys,” are Jackson Healy, played by Russell Crowe, and Holland March, played by Ryan Gosling. One’s a hired fix it guy, who will take out the pedophile dating your daughter, or beat up the guy who’s following you… for a fee. The other is a private detective who’s really more about swindling you out of your money than actually solving whatever it is you’ve sent him to solve. When their cases overlap, they end up working together and in a whole lot of trouble!
In several instances, it’s left up to March’s young daughter Holly, played by Australian up and coming actress Angourie Rice, to save both of our main characters.
The case that gets these two gentlemen wrapped up in each other involves a missing girl named Amelia, played by Margaret Qualley. There’s a bit of mistaken identity, and a lot of discussion about pollution, corruption, and porn before they find her. Her mother, played by Kim Basinger, is a high profile politician out to stop the porn industry, so when Amelia somehow ends up wrapped up in it, she gets help from our nice guys (men already on the hunt for Amelia) to find her.
And oh, Matt Bomer is in it, too. As if you needed another reason to see this movie…
Even though parts of the plot are easily predictable, the witty banter between the characters keeps it fresh. I never found myself bored in this film, not even a little bit. It had my full attention through the entire film, and that’s not always an easy thing to accomplish.
It captures the decadence of the 70’s with wild parties, and wealthy clients, and yet it also shows the lack of fear that we had. There are a few times where we see or hear about young Holly out and about in an abandoned lot in the dark. Even when she’s questioned about it, there’s no question of her safety. And as some of the trailers show (particularly the Red Band trailer, which you can find at YouTube, here), she manages to find her way into some pretty interesting situations, and no one seems worried about her seeing something inappropriate for her age.
At it’s heart, it is an action movie, but just as he did with Lethal Weapon, Shane has created characters that evolve from somewhat untrustworthy characters into slightly less untrustworthy characters that we want to win.
Crowe’s character allows the actor to utilize his own fairly infamous fighting instincts. He gets to beat people up pretty regularly, and he’s obviously the better fighter of the two. He’s a bit more complex than that. There’s a glimmer of a heart of gold, the hint of it, like he wants to be good, and this case gives him the chance, potentially to do that.
Meanwhile, Gosling’s character reminds me of the funny bits from his character in Gangster Squad. He’s funny, but a bit of an alcoholic, a lot of an alcoholic, but he loves his daughter, and his prime motivation is her, I think. There’s potential for this character to be a very unlikable character, but the way it’s done, we still end up rooting for him in the end.
This is one of those movies where it’s really hard not to give something away, but it definitely needs to be experienced first hand, so I’m going to cut this short.
Just trust me on this one, it’s totally worth the watch! I’ll be seeing it again.