Monday, November 14, 2005

FILM: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

We had a great time the other week seeing Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a fun and clever take on Raymond Chandler-style film noir. Impressively, the film succeeds in being both a pastiche and a parody of film noir at the same time. While we laughed heartily and often, this was no Naked Gun-style send-up of the genre. Instead, the characters often traded witty barbs, and the script mined the rich vein of ironic potential in taking the 1940's genre and relocating it to the present day. While the noir texture was faithfully preserved, with all the traditional characters and the seedy parts of town, modern elements (such as a gay detective, the Hollywood club scene, the "industry", and people with dyed spiky hair) were seamlessly spliced in without compromising the Double Indemnity look and feel. This clever device allowed the movie to be alternately suspenseful and funny without breaking the mood. Robert Downey Jr. is terrific as the likeable petty thief (whom we first meet robbing a toy store trying to find just the right toy for his nephew's Christmas present), Val Kilmer's deadpan timing is dead on as the hard-shelled homosexual detective, and Michelle Monaghan is great as the lost hometown girl gone to Hollywood. Definitely check out this clever comedy.

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