The main draw of this film is the central trio of performances; we have Russell Crowe as the tough enforcer with the heart of gold and the (occasional) moral compass, there’s Ryan Gosling as the often bumbling P.I. who, at certain moments, proves that he’s far smarter than given credit for and of course Angourie Rice as their 13 year old “partner in crime”, definitely wise beyond her years. This trio forms the heart of the film and they all get along great, effortlessly playing off each other and having perfect comic timing. I especially enjoyed Rice’s performance; she is never annoying or insufferable and she plays her character confidently and with genuine heart.
This film often takes inspiration from classic pulp fiction, the plot is certainly worthy of Ellroy or Spillane, but director Shane Black often turns it on its head, injecting something of a goofy, silly sense of fun to the proceedings. On that note, The Nice Guys is undeniably funny and the humour is used perfectly, never offensive or crass. The story is solidly put together and is constantly interesting.
The film is also very well designed and certain parts are beautiful to watch. There is also a fun (or should I say “funky”!) soundtrack, featuring Earth, Wind and Fire and The Temptations.
If I had to point out any flaws, I would say that the film is perhaps too long and at certain points, I wondered if the film was actually going anywhere. I would also have liked the film to be a bit bolder with the violence, as the trailer suggested. Well, to me anyway.
With a wonderful trio of performances at the centre, The Nice Guys is a funny, exciting film with great action scenes and a smart, clever script.
★ ★ ★ ★