UK | USA 2016
Opening June 2, 2016
Directed by: Shane Black
Writing credits: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi
Principal actors: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Yaya DaCosta, Margaret Qualley
Holland March (Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Crowe) meet under rather unusual circumstances; March’s client (Lois Smith) wants him to find her niece, and Healy’s client (Qualley) wants to prevent this. Meanwhile Holly (Rice), a mature teen with a keen sense of justice, keeps an eye on her dad. Inadvertently the private investigators end up on the same side during a scuffle, whereby a sharp-witted, high profile (Kim Basinger) distressed mom hires them. Add to the mix some nasty, trigger-happy dudes (Matt Bomer, Keith David, Beau Knapp), a declining porn star (Murielle Telio), and cars.
A semi-noir-spoof apropos vintage detective stories, director Shane Black co-wrote the screenplay with Anthony Bagarozzi. Some of the dialogue’s wit and caustic comments relate to still current events. But, a lot of the scenes and discourse are unconvincing and superfluous (Joel Negron editing); cutting 15-20 minutes would have helped maintain the interchanging, lively start.
Set in Los Angeles, California, 1977, the production design (Richard Bridgland), art direction (David Utley), set decoration (Danielle Berman), and costumes (Kym Barrett) strikingly encapsulate the 1970s. David Buckley and John Ottmanb’s music revive that era, and Philippe Rousselot’s cinematography matches the diverse locations. Two guys with two different approaches—brainy and brawn—to detecting, the co-stars’ wacky aplomb carry this amusing comedy. 115 minutes (Marinell H.)