Monday, 17 August 2009


“Humour is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: An awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs.” - Christopher Morley

We watched a strange film at the weekend, one that wasn’t quite what we expected, but which we nevertheless enjoyed in the end. It was Shane Black’s 2005 “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang”, which certainly had a lot of kisses and a lot of bangs in it. I chose the film as I read in the back jacket of the DVD the scanty write-up of the plot which described it as an action thriller. They had left out the bit about the black comedy! This best describes the film, which was quite a funny spoof of a film noir. One word of warning: If you are likely to be offended by piquant language, this is not the film for you – the film-makers have gone out of their way to “offend the viewers of the Midwest” as they confess in the last few minutes of the film! I am not a fan of blue language in films, but I did not particularly mind it in this film, it was about the dregs of society living in L.A. after all, it was to be expected that this was the way they spoke (OK, maybe I live a sheltered life)!

In a nutshell, the film concerns itself with a petty criminal in New York who, in order to escape the police who is chasing him ends up in an audition room and gets selected to take part in a film being made in L.A. He runs across his high school sweetheart who is now an aspiring starlet in Hollywood and gets involved in murder and conspiracy quite by chance. There is also a gay detective, a jaded Hollywood director up to his dirty tricks, identity theft, murder, car chases, incest, murder, a hungry dog (oh no!), and some quite original comedic devices that are very effective (did I mention murder?)

The actors do a fantastic job, with Robert Downey Jnr giving a great performance as the idiotic, gauche Harry, the petty thief. Val Kilmer is “Gay Perry”, the detective with the faultless grammar (the recurring joke bad/badly, adjective/adverb is very funny), while Michelle Monaghan plays Harmony, the aspiring young starlet. The supporting actors were also all very good and there is great chemistry amongst the leads. Once the initial few minutes of this film were seen and digested and the caricatures of the pulp film noir are appreciated, one can sit back and enjoy the humour and clever dialogue. At the same time I should stress that it’s not slapstick, and the ludicrous situations that develop are mainly because of the ineptitude of Harry as the “detective-in-spite-of-himself”.

The director, Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Last Boy Scout, Long Kiss Goodnight) wrote the script based on an idea based on the novel by Brett Halliday “Bodies Are Where You Find Them”, but he has imbued it with his own brand of tongue in cheek humour, fast-paced dialogue and sick ideas. Incidentally, the title is from the Japanese description of James Bond movies! Good fun all round…


  1. I laughed myself silly watching this film. You probably need to see it another time to get all the subtle gags in there. Great film!

  2. I'll see if my video store has it. It sounds good.

  3. what Julia said.
    I love Robert Downey Jnr -
    Wonder Boys,
    and am hanging out for HOLMES.