Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (15)

Film image
Shane Black
Val Kilmer

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner28/10/2005

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 103 mins

Opens London Film Festival: 28th October

Sharply written, frequently hilarious comedy-drama, packed with in-jokes, witty lines and great sight gags and featuring superb performances from Kilmer and Downey Jnr.

The Background
In the late 1980s and 1990s, Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black made his name as the go-to guy for witty, action-packed thrillers, with films such as The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight. With Kiss Kiss Bang Bang he finally gets the chance to direct his own material and the result is an extremely enjoyable action romp that delivers both laughs and thrills in equal measure.

The Story
Robert Downey Jnr plays Harry Lockhart, a small-time crook on the East coast, who literally stumbles into a Hollywood audition whilst running from the police. In no time at all, he’s whisked off to Hollywood, where he ends up tagging along with tough guy private investigator Perry Gay Perry Van Shrike (Val Kilmer), in order to prepare for a screen test. At the same time, he meets an old school crush and somehow finds himself slap in the middle of two murder cases.

The Good
Black is clearly having a huge amount of fun with the film and his witty script takes in everything from Chandleresque pulp novels to trashy Hollywood clichés and knowing in-jokes. This could easily have gone horribly, horribly wrong, but Black knows his material inside out and maintains a sure grip on the action, with Harry’s voiceover constantly reminding us that we’re watching a movie.

The Great
The performances are wonderful. Downey Jnr is terrific as Harry and his hangdog, frequently bewildered expression is exploited for its full comic potential. Similarly, Kilmer hasn’t been this watchable in a really long time and relishes the chance to be properly funny for once.

There’s also strong support from newcomer Michelle Monaghan, whose character is extremely well-written and defies the usual clichés of the love interest role. In addition, there’s palpable chemistry between all three stars, which makes things interesting, to say the least.

The Conclusion
In short, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a hugely enjoyable comedy thriller that delivers on all counts. Here’s hoping Black’s next film is of the same high standard. Recommended.

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Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (15)
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Content updated: 23/09/2018 02:15

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