“The Nice Guys” Movie Review

Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling are the two coolest actors in Hollywood at the moment. That’s what we take away from this movie. This neo-noir mystery buddy comedy by director Shane Black released on May 20th, 2016, having yet to exceed it’s budget of $50 million at the box office. Harkening back to buddy comedies from the 1970’s, the story follows Holland March, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, and enforcer-for-hire Jack Healy, as their paths cross wires over a case regarding a missing girl named Amelia. Their road begins at the apparent suicide of fading pornography star, Misty Mountains, and escalates into a conspiracy involving the higher powers of the government. It serves as an interesting commentary on the growth of the porn industry during the 70’s, and makes notion of the country’s increasing apathy for the polluted environment. At one point, “Healy says “Maybe the birds aren’t able to breathe. And we’re left here to choke.” Front and center of this film are Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, whose chemistry is almost unbelievable. They work very well together, constantly bouncing off one another with ease. It may be too early to tell, but I’ll wager that at least one of them is going to get a nomination come award season. But the surprising standout has to go to Angourie Rice, who plays Ryan Gosling’s daughter. She wasn’t annoying, she was useful, she was funny, and managed to steal the show from two veteran Hollywood actors. That says something. The movie doesn’t rely on action scenes, but when there are, they’re done very well. The well-paced editing and superb sound design make it feel like the audience is actually there in the firefight. It’s made all the more enjoyable by the banter between Healy and March, and one particular, Boba Fett-like character that was both awesome and creepy at the same time. He’s not in the movie for long, but Matt Bomer did a tremendous job as this assassin. The whole supporting cast, including Kim Basinger, Keith David, Margaret Qualley, and Beau Knapp, are terrific in their respective roles for that matter. And the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is great as well. It makes The Nice Guys look more colorful, and allows for the scope of the city of Los Angeles to spread its wings. Long tracking shots, natural lighting, and zooming close-ups establish the atmosphere and tone of the 1970’s, best exemplified through the soundtrack by David Buckley and John Ottman. I really liked how the dialogue was well-written, providing contrast for Healy and March. While Healy is the calmer one with good insight, March is vulgar and is the source of much physical comedy. There weren’t any scenes that had my stomach hurting from uncontrollable laughter, but I consistently chuckled throughout. With that, I can confidently say that The Nice Guys is one of the better movies I’ve seen in 2016 thus far. I loved the main characters, I loved the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, and how well-written and believable the dialogue seemed. I hope this does for budddy comedies of a bygone era what the Hateful Eight has done for westerns.

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