Advice of the Day (Forum)
Books (Forum)
Druidic Ramblings (Forum)
Dumb Ideas (Forum)
H-Town (Forum)
Links (Forum)
Movies (Forum)
Music (Forum)
Opinions (Forum)
Photo Albums (Forum)
Prose/Poetry (Forum)
Questions (Forum)
Video Games (Forum)

Basic Article Search

Enter search terms below:

Member Login



Register Here

View Article

Review of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Posted by phduffy on 2005-12-07 16:19:05
So last Saturday, on a night when my previous plans went the way of the dodo bird (SO CUTTING EDGE!), I thought I'd take in a movie. I was initially thinking of Aeon Flux, but after seeing its reviews at rottentomatoes (11% when I checked), I nixed that idea.

So, I checked out my local independent theatre, and even though they're not fucking playing Good Night and Good Luck until Dec 23rd, they were playing the Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer movie "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang". I was under the impression that it was something of a film noir, but didn't know much more than that.

KKBB (as it will now be referred to) is divided into 5 chapters, with occasional naration by Robert Downey Jr's character. Interesting enough, his character doens't pretend that he's doing anything other than narrating a movie. He points out specific movie conventions (ie "I want to go over this seemingly minor point, because it's important later on. Fuck, I hate when movies do this, sorry"). I'm not sure how I feel about him breaking the 4th wall like that, but whatever.

Anyways, Robert Downey Jr. is a thief in New York, and while running from the cops he ends up in an audition for a movie. Relax. Work with me. So he goes out to LA to work on the movie and work with Val Kilmer, a former police officer who now trains actors how to be detectives. While at a party in LA, he runs into the woman who was his dream girl in high school, who's trying to make it as an actress in LA.

At this point I think I need to stop the plot review, because to give away anymore would be spoilerish, and fuck that. Basically the plot follows a similar outline to the stories of Johnny Gossamer, a fictional PI that a couple of the characters used to read.

Anyways, as I mentioned, the movie is advertised as sort of a noirish Los Angeles film. While this is true, it's also true that this is one of the funniest films I've seen this year. Now, sure, people aren't really this snappy and witty, but women don't have tits like that either, and they still make for a good movie, so what do I care?

Val Kilmer's character is gay (as he's mentioned, the first time he's played a gay character since Top Gun), and they use that for comedy. He's typically part of the joke, but I could see how it might make someone uncomfortable. This movie also has gratuitous use of topless woman, and one case of a bottomless woman, but that's actually a plot point. (Bottomless in that she's nekkid, not in that she's missing the lower half of her torso like a demented child's Barbie doll).

Despite being a comedy, this movie is an homage to the PI novels set in Los Angeles from the 40s. The similes and metaphors are on overdrive, and this is a city of Los Angeles that's seedy and gauche and bright and a character, not just a locale. As mentioned, there are 5 chapters, and the title for the Epilogue (Farewell, My Lovely) is the name of a famous Raymond Chandler book set in LA. I'm assuming that the others were also references to that type of novel (in fact, I'm almost sure that one of them must have been Lady in the Lake), but don't remember right now.

The plot is somewhat typical, but only typical in that it involves a couple of unrelated ideas that come together, and some of the crimes are the typical dark type that you'll see in storiesl ike this. KKBB is partially based on a novel, and I was very curious to find out more about the novel. Turns out it's a novel from the 40s by someone who wrote a ton of these pulpy page turners. Before I found that out I was eager to read more by this author, but instead I think I'll stick to Chandler and Hammett, the originators of this type of fiction.

With all that said, I haven't touched enough on the quality of this movie. The directing is tight, it moves at a brisk pace, it's hilarious, and the mystery is kind of fun too. This is a great movie, one of the best i've seen all year.