Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Director: Shane Black
Writer: Brett Halliday (novel)
Screenplay: Shane Black
Producer: Joel Silver
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan, Corbin Bernsen, Shannyn Sossamon
MPAA Rating:R
Running Time: 103 minutes
read my spoiler disclaimer



     Witty, fast-paced, preposterous, funny, confusing, boisterous and the perfect topping to your bag of popcorn. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is a movie about a case of mistaken indentity within the world of Hollywood and it's private-eyes. I went in with high-expectations and that's usually bad. Not this time. They were fulfilled and exceeded.

      Robert Downey jr. is amazing. Let's just put that on the table right now. He is easily in my top 5 favorite actors; maybe even top 3... maybe even top 2. He is highly charismatic, his facial expressions and mannerisms tip the scales of emotion and comedy. Here's an edited filography of Downey films I would recommend:

"Two Girls and a Guy" - see Downey do everything, from sing, do comedy, play piano, cry very emotionally, torrid sex scene, play dead and just ACT to perfection.
"Natural Born Killers" - as bordering on psychotic, Australian television tabloid host Wayne Gale
"Chaplin" - plays Charles Chaplin to a "T"
"Chances Are" - plays a young man who has been reincarnated and finds his widowed wife in his new life (cute and touching)
"The Singing Detective" - also about a detective who narrates his own story

     He's in many many other films too, but despite his great acting, the films themselves are nothing special, or he just has a bit part; although his charisma stands out in each and every one of them. There are also many of his films that I have not seen that interest me. Here is his full repertoire of films. You could argue that he might be a wee-smidgeon of an over-actor, but who's to say what over acting is? I think he's wonderful. And no I'm not gay.

      Throw in Val Kilmer as a gay private detective known as Gay Perry, and you already have yourself one hell of a cast. Both of these characters are so witty and there are so many great lines to keep you chuckling. I can't wait to see it again to try and remember them all. The two are constantly bickering with each other even in the face of certain doom.

      The unexpected happens more than once and being that it is definitely a mystery movie where you're constantly encouraged to try and figure out who dunnit, the entire film your mind will be racing as to what is going on and who is behind what. The story can get slightly confusing and off track at times, but I quickly got back on course and figured out what was happening just in time for something "out of whack" to happen again. Even if you don't get back on track, it doesn't matter. It's all about the wit and charm of the characters. Did I mention to expect the unexpected?

      When I say encouraged to figure things out, I mean that Downey plays the narrator and frequently gives us clues and asks the audience if we have figured it out yet. He is not the normal everyday narrator in films such as "Shawshank Redemption;" but instead he talks to us much quicker; occassionally seeming to stop the camera in mid-frame to explain something to us or rewind the film, or just to spew off a brief meaningless, but funny monologue. He often alludes to other films and the cliches and stupid things that happen in many Hollywood films. Everything from Robocop to Lord of the Rings to The Natural are mentioned or alluded to. It was great!

      Aside from Corbin Bernsen, who has a pretty minor part, the rest of the cast are relative newcomers or no-names. Shannyn Sossamon makes a brief appearance and the only other recognizable face is that of Michelle Monaghan, who played Downey's love interest. You may have seen her in side roles in films such as "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," "Unfaithful" or "The Bourne Supremacy." They all are fine though as our eyes are constantly glued to Downey who is almost always on-screen with his undeniable charm shining through.

      Although this movie is a modern day film noir, it points out the cliches to us and then throws us for a complete loop just when we think we know exactly what is happening. Whether you're ready or not the film plunges on with dead bodies, smoking guns, half-naked girls wearing santa outfits and dogs eating fingers. Sounds sick, but it's not. The "pro" critics seem to really be enjoying this one and I am no different. It's everything about movies that I really love: great acting, funny lines, dramatic moments and a fun story with a unique vision and style. If you can find it, I HIGHLY recommend getting out of the house for this film. Have fun!




Links:
Official site with trailer
Everything Kiss Kiss at IMDb


Other critics thoughts on Robert Downey's performance in "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang:"

      Downey, with haggard charm to burn, is winning all the way.
     - Todd McCarthy (Variety.com)

      Robert Downey Jr. is perfect as Harry. He brings the right mix of cynicism, self-doubt, and unpretentiousness. He has the timing of a comedian and the ability to summon a dramatic approach to the film's (few) more serious moments.
     - James Berardinelli

      Robert Downey Jr., at his playfully snarky best...and Kilmer who keep you hanging on and laughing uproariously. You might think two masters of the quirky would be too much for a single movie. But they light up this one.
     - Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)

      "This is one of Downey's most enjoyable performances, and one of Kilmer's funniest."
     - M.E. Russell (Oregonian)

      "Downey, too, is brilliant. Not only is he the hero, he is also the narrator...in a voice both humorous and seductive.
     — Pam Grady (reel.com)

      "Downey’s precision comic timing helps the narration become its own character without letting its irony or playfulness become gimmicky."
     - David Thomas (filmcritic.com)








drewbacca@moviepatron.com