I mainly know Ryan Gosling for his roles in Drive and Only God Forgives. Serious roles that appeared to prefer silently emoting over speaking. His role in The Nice Guys is the exact opposite. Shrieking loudly and floundering around hysterically, Gosling shows some fine comedic skill. His partner Crowe can do ‘tough guy’ in his sleep but also brings a touch of warmth as the story progresses. It’s a pairing you wouldn’t immediately think of but works a treat.
Writer/Director Shane Black is known for his ‘buddy cop’ dialogue from Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He once delivers some great back and forth, plus a child character who truly adds something to the film. His use of camera angles and lighting provides a great atmosphere, with great use of light highlighting the seedy underbelly of LA.
It could have used a bit of trimming to prevent the story sagging at the 3/4 point, but picks up again with gusto once Matt Bomer’s menacing hitman arrives on the scene. The story could have been clearer too. None of that matters though when the central pairing are as good together as this.
Watching these two characters get to know one-another, there’s a strong feeling that there is more story to tell here. It seems ripe for a sequel as there are plenty of smaller threads that I’d like to know more about.
For now though this is easily one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen this year.