Sep 8, 2017

[Movies] The Nice Guys (2016) Review

In yet another instance of Tobie loading an odd movie for us to watch, we somehow wandered into The Nice Guys for one reason or another. And it's not like either of us are big Ryan Gosling fans or something. But hey it had an interesting premise to it and so we got into it further.

Admittedly some of the humor annoyed me initially, but in the long run I rather appreciated how it was an odd twisting of the noir genre in a subversive but often clever way. And that was a little surprising. And it's not like they were past some really cheesy, low-brow moments. But hey it still works out.

In game terms, it's also quite the Fiasco, which is a common trope in many noir tales. Things start out decent but can end pretty badly and how you get from the hopeful start to the somber end makes all the difference.

It also makes it a little tricky to really peg whether this movie is more of a comedy or a drama given the final outcome.

Synopsis: The Nice Guys is a 2016 American neo-noir comedy written and directed by Shane Black. The movie actually premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival before it's larger commercial release.

In 1977 Los Angeles we meet less than great alcoholic private detective Holland March (Ryan Gosling) who isn't doing to well. He end up on a weird series of cases, one involving the claim a dead girl was seen alive and another for a girl gone missing. This makes him cross paths with the odd thug for hire Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe). Jackson ends up beating up Holland in a rather memorable way.

But things come to a head when a score that Jackson is trying to settle leads back to the cases that Holland is investigating and the two end up reluctantly agreeing to work together to find the missing girl, Amelia. How all this connects to anti-pollution protests and amateur pornography is really where the movie brings things together to tell an odd comedic tale.

What I Liked: The way this movie subverts a lot of genre conventions is really where the heart of its comedies likes. One of the most memorable moments of this nature include the scene where Gosling's character tries to break into a building with the classic break the glass trick. The way that scene revolved was just golden and had me feeling both impressed and terribly amused.

The young character of Holly March (Angourie Rice) was also a really great character who had some great scenes with Gosling and Crowe. Sure, her character felt like Penny from the Inspector Gadget cartoon series as she was often the only character in the scene who had a clue. She was quite the talented actress in this movie and I'm glad they found her for the role.

What Could Have Been Better: There were times that Crowe's character Jackson felt oddly shallow or two one dimensional. Or maybe his role in certain scenes just weren't all that compelling and that diminished his role. I was more invested in Gosling and Rice as a father and daughter team trying to navigate through this complicated mess of a case.

That said, there were some parts of the story that felt a little more confusing than they needed to be, but I concede it's not easily to write a story as a mystery. In that regard the old rules of every fact has the potential to be important provided you manage to put the pieces together. And I don't know if I really felt the way things were setup or even foreshadowed was sufficiently well-done..

TL;DR: The Nice Guys is still quite the entertaining movie despite my modest nitpicks about it and in the end I was pretty invested in seeing things to the end.The way the story played out and how the characters stumbled through the complications set in their path made for a great movie experience. Thus it gets 4 surprise connections in the case out of a possible 5.


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