The Nice Guys – Review ****


He gave us Lethal Weapon. He gave us The Last Action Hero. He gave us Iron Man 3. And now Shane Black keeps on giving, with his latest film, The Nice Guys. After months of being teased by the tasty trailers, the film finally arrived to the cinema, and we can sit and enjoy a good 90s style buddy action flick, that happens in 70s LA, and has some wicked 21st century action moves.

Holland March (Ryan Gosling), single dad and private detective, is looking into famous porn star Misty Mountains’s death, and the next piece of the puzzle is a girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley). Unfortunately for March, Amelia hired unlicensed and overall brute Jackson Healey (Russell Crowe) to make sure no one can find her. When Amelia disappears into thin air, the two guys are forced to team up, as they fall deep into a web of porn parties, mermaids, killer psychopaths and government conspiracies.


Proper buddy movies are rare to come by, and they tend to be about cops. Black goes a little bit further by using the lone figure of the detective as his material, and not fearing to go the extra mile by making March’s daughter, Holly (played by amazing newcomer Angourie Rice) the sharpest knife in the drawer. Crowe redeems himself for the part he played in Les Miserables, by giving Healey the cool uncle vibe, as well as a conscience (something tricky to deal with when your job is to beat people up and not ask questions), and we get to see Matt Bomer playing a cold hearted murderer. The real star, however, is Gosling, that after many years of being a hunk, shows he has a natural talent for comedic timing. From singing, slapstick, dialogue delivery and an invincible attitude, Gosling is having way too much fun doing this film, and we can’t help but to come along for the ride.

© Claudio Carpi 01

And what a ride it is. Yes, there is a mystery to be solved, but the film is so quick, so full of gags, twists and turns, Hitler references and splatter moments, that you can’t help but not to care about what’s it all about. The attention to the retro feel and yet making it look ultra modern, the characters’ unintentional jokes about the future (No one will take down Detroit, you’re saying?) a smart funny script and the editing on point, together with two actors playing outside their comfort zones like kings (though we suspect Gosling may soon become the next Reynolds) make The Nice Guys the Guilty Pleasure par excellence of this new summer (*for those outside the British Isles, that is).

So go see this, right now. Don’t worry, despite the action, high-speed cars and guns aplenty, nobody gets hurt (everyone dies pretty quickly). And there are whores and stuff.

The Nice Guys was released in UK cinemas from 3rd June 2016.

Sara is originally from Coimbra, Portugal, where she studied Film Studies before moving to London to enrol in film school. Having made her first short film about her neighbour's chickens when she was 9 (a dystopian sci-fi, still her favourite genre), she is now a London-based film director and editor, and also a writer for the Portuguese Take Magazine. She is a huge fan of Lars Von Trier, Krysztof Kiéslowski, and David Lean.