Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

****

Reviewed by: Steve Harwood

Bursting into a film audition while on the run from the cops, small time thief Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) somehow convinces the casting agent that he's the man for the part. Before he knows it, Harry's flying into LA, mixing at exclusive Hollywood parties and being prepped for the role of a private detective in an upcoming movie. For experience, the studio sends him out on a case with real-life investigator Gay Perry (Val Kilmer), but when Harry bumps into an old high school flame, things start to get complicated.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is the directorial debut of Shane Black, the screenwriter who hit the big time in the late Eighties and early Nineties with the Lethal Weapon series and The Long Kiss Goodnight. Since then he's been out in the wilderness, but returns here with a smart, post-modern take on the noir thriller. With more twists than your average Elmore Leonard novel, he has delivered a fresh and quick-witted black comedy, filled with razor-sharp dialogue and plenty of laughs.

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Downey, who doubles as narrator, is at his fast-talking, charismatic best. Kilmer, too, is excellent, particularly as his portrayal of a homosexual character, in a comedy, has virtually none of the usual gay cliches. It's great fun watching these two on screen together. Michelle Monaghan is very good, too, bringing more than you would expect to what could have been just another femme fatale.

Black is clearly a fan of Raymond Chandler and it's interesting to see how the plot simultaneously parodies and observes the conventions of his detective novels. The many twists, turns and coincidences come thick and fast - at times, perhaps, even too fast to keep up with. Harry's narration sometimes appears too clever for its own good, but you get the impression that's exactly how Black wants it.

Usually with a comedy you're lucky to get one genuine laugh-out-loud moment. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang has at least half a dozen. It may not win many awards, and it may not be the best film of the year, but you'll be hard pushed to find another that's more enjoyable.

If there's one word to sum up this movie, it's "fun" and you DON'T need to leave your brain at the door on the way in.

Reviewed on: 06 Nov 2005
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Small time crook is groomed for Hollywood with hilarious consequences.
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The Remote Viewer ****1/2

Director: Shane Black

Writer: Brett Halliday, Shane Black

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, Corbin Bernsen, Dash Mihok, Larry Miller, Rockmond Dunbar, Shannyn Sossamon, Angela Lindvall, Indio Falconer Downey, Ariel Winter

Year: 2005

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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SSFF 2011

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