Shane Black directs this ’70s era buddy movie starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as a PI and an enforcer respectively, who team up to investigate a missing persons case and the death of a pornstar.
Shane Black returns from his outing in the MCU with Iron Man 3 to deliver us a full throttle buddy comedy action move starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling set in sleazy 1970’s LA. And it’s quite brilliant. It’s batshit crazy, hilarious and genuinely touching at times. And that’s why it works as well as it does. There’s no punches pulled, and that pays off. Big time.
Jackson Healy (Crowe) and Holland March (Gosling) are the ‘buddies’ in question and the two have fantastic on screen chemistry and the interplay between the hard-man, no-nonsense enforcer, Healy and the cowardly conman, private investigator, March is brilliant.
March is a PI with loose morals, milking his clients for money, often knowing full well that he won’t find an answer for them. He has alcohol and family issues and is often reprimanded and put in his place by his thirteen year old daughter, Holly (Angourie Rice). Their relationship is a genius move by Black as their interactions prove to be some of the films strongest moments and hardest laughs.
Similar to March, Healy is also in a rut and also has questionable morals. As Holly puts it, he beats people up for money. He feels like this is him doing his bit to defend people who can’t defend themselves. But there’s a feeling that he feels bad about kicking the shit out of people.
Healy and March team up to tackle the case of a dead pornstar (Murielle Telio) and the missing Amelia (Margaret Qualley). The two make an unlikely pairing, as pretty much polar opposites. The interplay between the two of them is fantastic and both are hilarious in opposite ways. March’s cowardly, bullshitty ramblings are perfectly complimented by Healy’s no nonsense, deadpan brutality.
This is a ridiculous film. But while it’s a spoof of the ’70s crime/thriller it does have real depth and some nice character moments. Both Healy and March have lucid moments of self reflection and March’s relationship with his daughter is the emotional heartbeat of the film amidst the chaos. In fact, Holly March is perhaps only character who seems to have a grasp of what is going on while her alcoholic father and his bruiser colleague chaotically try to solve this case.
The action, too is fantastic. It’s a thrill ride with an abundance of laughs. A lot of the comedic moments are actually plays on popular and over-used action tropes which keeps it feeling fresh. You’re never quite sure what the next beat is going to be. This is a film that excels in chaos rather than cohesion. Which may be a sticking point for some. And it may go a bit too far towards slapstick for these people also. But not for us. For us, Black managed the balancing act perfectly to deliver one hell of a ride.
AWESOME. The Nice Guys is a triumph and Shane Black manages to brilliantly blend wit, chaos, action and heart in this neo-noir buddy comedy.