Free Press Journal

Movie Review:  The Nice Guys – Noirish crime caper


the nice guys movie review

Cast: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Kim Basinger, Margaret Qualley

Director: Shane Black 

Two A-list actors with avian surnames aren’t as nice as the title of this noirish action comedy might lead you to believe. I’d like to say they’re anything but nice, but I can’t. Because director Shane Black who co-wrote with Anthony Bagarozzi, this gritty but comic crime buddy film set in Los Angeles during the 1970s, created a violent guy who actually heeds the voice of a girl-child. Sounds corny doesn’t it.

But one of its two main characters, Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is a mercenary who beats up creeps who aren’t nice to women. Actually, the aforementioned child, a spunky 13 year old named Holly (Angourie Rice) shouldn’t have been talking to Healy at all, since he breaks the bones of her widowed father, private investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling) who has been trying to trace a girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley).

What makes the story interesting is WHY Amelia’s mother (Kim Basinger) wants to find (or not find) her missing daughter. Anyway, Healy puts March’s bodyparts in plaster casts before he switches sides and joins March in the search for Amelia who as it turns out, is a highly moral person. The dead woman the viewer sees in the car crash in the opening scene, is not. She’s a porn actress whose nakedness is covered by a sweet little boy. The viewer also encounters a foul child who makes money exposing himself to adult men. So, this world created by Black and Bagarozzi has all types of people, just like the real world.

“I work in a cesspool,” March says somewhere in the film which is why the screenwriters expose spunky Holly to very adult behaviour. I will not spell it out. Suffice to say, this film is not for 13 year olds. The Nice Guys is an opportunistic crime caper, but if you ask me, featuring adorable little children in the 2013 Cannes Fest winner, the semi-pornographic Blue is the Warmest Colour was/is  nauseating.