Nice Guys Finish First
My mum’s lovely but if I’m honest she can be incredibly dopey. In fact she once tried to boil a pan full of vegetables on the highest heat possible the promptly forgot about the pan… and to add the veg… and to add the water.
When our house wasn’t fragrantly smelling like noxious burning metal she used to talk about breaking news like some sort of soothsayer: “You know, I went to bed and I had a funny feeling something bad would happen to Princess Diana”. Of course you did!?
Anyway, that leads me on to The Nice Guys because throughout this film I couldn’t help but think that this was like a modern day version of Lethal Weapon.
It’s not a radical line of thought; two dudes doing some detective stuff, neither really wants to work with each other, ones a bit more straight laced, the other a bit more “shoot from the hip” but as it turns out, writer-director Shane Black also wrote Lethal Weapon.
Even though Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling) aren’t cops this is very much a buddy cop movie and a spiritual successor to Lethal Weapon.
I realise that might initially turn you off but The Nice guys is extremely clever in its writing and manages to feel extremely modern. Case in point are both Healy and March.
Healy is a metaphor for the our modern condition. He thinks everything is bad and it’s getting worse, yet under all the grizzle he just wants to be noticed in a character that is like your Facebook profile come to life.
March on the other hand is a metaphor for the modern man. He is a single father, fumbling his way through parenthood, accepting that the women in his life – his daughter – are equally as strong as him whilst still clinging on to that 17 year old desire to go get fucked up and party.
Both characters hold nuance and a degree of social realism that makes them both instantly likeable. It’s a key aspect that you don’t get from watching the trailer so even when you are fully expecting the scenes from the trailer they still feel hilariously fresh thanks to the context behind them.
Again, credit has to go to Shane Black for creating a genuinely funny script that provides an injection of humour at exactly the right points whilst still making space for moments of poignancy.
In fact, my only real criticism is the actual story line which felt convoluted and at times thin. However, the focus is so clearly on the relationship between Crowe and Gosling that it becomes apparent that the story is simply there to provide a basic framework in which to hang these portrayals.
Every once in a while a film just resonates with you, whether it be through character, story, mise-en-scene or just where your head is at right now. This film certainly did that for me and hopefully it will resonate with you because when that happens it’s nice, you guys!
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Ryan Gosling was excellent
+ Excellent writing
– Rather convoluted plot
– Buddy movie is perhaps not that original