What's it about?
Los Angeles, 1977. A goon for hire and a bumbling Private Investigator, both with questionable morals and a streak of bad luck trailing in their wake, find themselves thrown together as they investigate a case of corporate conspiracy that spirals outwards from the death of porno star 'Misty Mountains'.
Who would I recognise in it?
Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, Matt Bomer, Kim Basinger, Keith David.
Shane Black brings his love of L.A. and crime fiction back to the silver screen with a hefty dose of humour ladled on top. If you dug the vibe of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang then you'll know what to expect here, but with an added 1970s groove and a rowing back from the sheer self-awareness that stood so proudly at the heart of Black's last foray into noir-tinged sleuthing in the City of Angels...
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Displaying the spark of genuine on-screen chemistry, Crowe and Gosling riff on buddy movie conventions and pepper their woozy journey through porno chic L.A. with laugh out loud displays of verbal dexterity and physical slapstick. Gosling, in particular, brandishes an electric sense of comedic timing - his drunken jumbling of words at a glamorous party and a fumbled attempt at multi-tasking inside a toilet cubicle proving to be stand out moments.
Black's pulp fiction characterisation is sharp, gifting bit players life beyond their screen time, and further to that there is Angourie Rice, who plays Gosling's on-screen daughter. Standing toe-to-toe with her big-time on-screen co-players, she grabs hold of the precocious intelligence that is afforded to her character in Black and Anthony Bagarozzi's screenplay and runs with it.
Meeting expectations as much as subverting them, Black's latest cinematic outing is a highlight for 2016. Funny, fresh, and nostalgic it makes for a bloody good time. If you've enjoyed Black's previous witty works, or either of the two leads, this comes as highly recommended viewing. Great.