A brilliantly funny, laugh-out-loud crime comedy.
In 1970s Los Angeles, a private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and a wannabe private eye (Russell Crowe) are dragged into the investigation of a missing girl and the mysterious death of a porn star.
Despite not doing so well financially, and flying under the radar for most people, this film is utterly hilarious. Writer and director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) has created yet another fantastic “buddy cop” crime comedy, working with a much more neo-noir, black comedy style rather than the typical comedies which are churned out by Hollywood.
This witty, dry and satirical comedy type allows the film to relax and provides freedom to poke fun at Los Angeles’ seedy underbelly, mainly through the eyes of our two protagonists.
Crowe and Gosling’s chemistry in this film drives the narrative and makes the film what it is, brilliant fun. They bounce off each other exceptionally well, with Crowe taking more of the “straight man” role and Gosling the comic, allowing some brilliant funny moments when Gosling lets Crowe down.
As well as this, their three dimensional characters and great performances really help to generate Shane Black’s tone. It’s this satirical, dry, black comedic tone which creates such a standout feel to the film. It’s not your standard Hollywood “let’s scream to be funny” comedy, it’s much more clever than that, which is becoming increasingly rare.
The neo-noir style is perfect for the mystery, crime genre which Black nails, and the plot too is entertaining and intriguing enough to retain interest. It’s not the most convoluted or entirely fresh plot, but it’s a very strong return to the mystery crime thriller genre.
Black’s comedic writing along with Crowe’s and (especially) Gosling’s comedic timing and performances have really created a special, genuinely funny comedy here and, despite it’s lack of success box office wise, it will no doubt find a strong cult following once people realise how brilliant it is (and it’s on Netflix, that’s bound to help!).