Rated R for language, violence and sexuality/nudity.
Written and Directed By: Shane Black
Staring: Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, Corbin Bernsen, Dash Mihok, and Rockmond Dunbar
No problem. Don’t quit your gay job. -Harry Lockhart
A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.
If you want a movie to constantly keep you on your toes, laughing hysterically, and have tons of gregarious violence and crude language, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is what you want to take home. It’s high energy, and off kilter humor is more than enough to stimulate and entertain anyone who is a fan of mysteries, action, and comedy.
Robert Downey Jr. plays Harry Lockhart, a bumbling thief who feel into the acting world in order to avoid being arrested. He finds himself in a twisted murder mystery by a series of strange events that links him to a homosexual private investigator and a beautiful struggling actress. The innuendo, implications, and dialogue is clever, exciting, and offers an almost sheepish throw back to old school mystery noir films. There may be comedy involved here, but it will only fool you for so long, as there is a dark and violent part to this movie that doesn’t hesitate to go to the mattresses.
Essentially Robert Downey Jr. doesn’t put out bad performances, but he even occasionally manages to rise above his own ridiculously high standards. He does this as Harry Lockhart, who to us, may be comedic at times, but is portrayed a real person that is going threw the motions of real events that he wasn’t necessarily equipped to deal with. For us it provides comedy and dramatic sequences, but what it does is make the film that much more important to watch. When a character is reacting to so many shocking events, it’s important that the viewer believes that performance, and Downey Jr. provides that conviction. His partner’s in crime, Perry and Harmony, played by Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan just further the already brilliant delivery of Downey Jr. Kilmer pulls off one of the best performances I’ve seen from him in ages, and Monaghan gave me a reason to remember her name.
The dialogue is proficiently delivered by it’s actors, but ingeniously written by Shane Black (Leathal Weapon) who also directed the film. The writing was skillful but it was clearly intended for actors that had the talent and charisma to deilver each of the eccentric character’s. The actual plot and twisting stories, narrated by Harry, layers over itself with the homage to old Hollywood crime capers, while keeping it’s modern appearance so candidly it incredible. It was total gratification to watch a film so unrestrained thrive.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang certainly has it’s levels of comedy to offer, but make no mistake, it does not shy from the brutal violence that comes with territory of it’s subject matter. Without hesitation violence breaks out in moments when you least expect it, and the character’s constantly keep you guessing. The most successful aspect of it’s mystery is it keeps you so entertained and so engulfed in what’s happening in the now, it is easy to distract and forget about what happens next. It is that satisfying. The only disappointment for me was that it took me so many years to finally see it. I could have purchased it and had numerous viewings at this point. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a clever movie that is too genius to define.
Final Thoughts? One of my favorites in a very long time.