Film Review: The Nice Guys

In association with the Grosvenor


The Nice Guys is Shane Black’s third feature film and partners Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as an enforcer and PI investigator respectively. The two grudgingly work together to solve the mystery behind the murder of a porn actress who may be connected to the disappearance of another woman. What stems from this is an engaging and utterly hilarious belter of a film.

This film works on many levels thanks to its intelligent, witty script. The central mystery is an intricate but immersive one which leaves you guessing up until the film’s chaotic climax.  It sucks us in and gets us invested thanks to the handling of the idea and the likability of Gosling and Crowe. These two work magic together and play off of each other brilliantly with both sweet and humorous results. They’re essentially opposite extremes of the same personality with Gosling being more professional but also more wimpy and Crowe as rough and dangerous but probably better at the job. They’re a perfect mismatch and their chemistry is top notch.

What also works in the film’s favour is the style and setting it adopts. It’s set in 70s L.A. and the fast paced editing and atmosphere Black creates makes it seem as though you’re watching a 70s film on the big screen. There’s an absurd sense of fun channelling through the direction that’s reminiscing of the classic buddy cop era before it felt redundant. It’s both refreshing and exciting.

But the best aspect here is the comedy. The film has a very dry and often dark sense of humour. When combined with the contrasting personalities of the main characters, this makes for wonderfully hard laughs. The banter exchanged between Crowe and Gosling or Gosling and his daughter are fantastic and the film is somehow able to make even the grittiest of gun fights leave you in stitches.

As a result, The Nice Guys is enormously entertaining. It’s violent, gritty and screwed up but thanks to the skill of its script and the craftsmanship of its direction we’re left with a film full of charm and wit with an original and side-splittingly funny spin on the mystery noir buddy cop genre. A stylish explosion of violence, ineptitude and humour, The Nice Guys should not be missed.

[Calum Cooper]

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