Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Review No. 474

Watch watch “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” now now.

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A-PLUS

DIRECTED BY SHANE BLACK. STORY AND SCREENPLAY BY BLACK. STARRING ROBERT DOWNEY JR. (HARRY LOCKHART) AND VAL KILMER (“GAY PERRY” VAN SHRIKE). ALSO STARRING MICHELLE MONAGHAN, CORBIN BERNSEN, DASH MIHOK, ANGELA LINDVALL, ALI HILLIS, LARRY MILLER, ROCKMOND DUNBAR, AND SHANNYN SOSSAMON. DISTRIBUTED ON NOVEMBER 11, 2005 BY WARNER BROS. PRODUCED IN ENGLISH BY THE UNITED STATES. RUNS 1 HOUR, 42 MINUTES. INTENDED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES, DUE TO NUDITY, PROFANITY, SEXUAL SITUATIONS, AND INTENSE VIOLENCE.

KISS KISS BANG BANG WAS WATCHED ON MAY 5, 2013.

Gay Perry (Val Kilmer): “Look up idiot in the dictionary. You know what you’ll find?”
Harry (Robert Downey Jr.): “A picture of me?”
Gay Perry (Kilmer): “No! The definition of the word ‘idiot’! Which you f###ing are!”

So here we are in L.A. We have Harry (Robert Downey Jr.), a thief who has been mistaken for a method actor and used that to reach a sudden career pinnacle; Harmony (Michelle Monaghan), the femme fatale who wanted to be an actress, but never earned any recognition for her talent; and “Gay Perry” (Val Kilmer), Harry’s own lifelong friend. The plot is a murder mystery, which is anything but simple: over the course of four days, Harry and “Gay Perry” are determined to prove that they didn’t commit a murder, often times “playing detective” according to the pulp novels Harmony reads in her spare time. Sounds bizarre? Let’s just say there’s a severed finger used as a major plot point, and I couldn’t help but think of the severed ear that set Blue Velvet into action.

A great film can melodically separate style and substance. A work of genius can blend the two with dynamic results. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is in the latter camp. While the story darkly satirizes old-fashioned crime capers, it also feels just like them. There’s atmosphere everywhere, and for nearly two hours, we finally have something definitive of unique: an indie movie that echoes the Golden Age of Hollywood. And as if this isn’t enough, the “fourth wall” seems to be composed of drywall; the movie has Robert Downey Jr., so it’s obvious he’d be the one to break it down. Yes, he is a “bad narrator,” in a sense that he often forgets what to mention (and humorously acknowledges this misstep); he tells us to stop complaining about how he’s ending the film on several notes (could the movie, you know, not end?); etc. But he’s not doing this on purpose–writer Shane Black is, and it’s fully original. Nobody’s really written a “bad narration” before, so it makes Downey’s character even more unique and likable.

I had a blast watching Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. The film toys madly with realism, yet at the same time, I can envision myself quoting it on a daily basis. It’s wild, rowdy, violent, hardboiled, dark, and unforgettable. In any politically correct state of mind, it should be flat-out depressing, but god, does Shane Black give it levity. The film is well-written, well-acted, and well-played. That’s to say it’s the perfect crime, it’s the perfect crime about crime, and it’s the only crime we’ve ever needed. Right?

Harry (Robert Downey Jr.): “I peed on the corpse. Can they do, like, ID from that?”
Perry (Val Kilmer): “I’m sorry, you peed on…?”
Harry (Downey): “On the corpse. My question is…”
Perry (Kilmer): “No, my question, I get to go first: Why in pluperfect hell would you pee on a corpse?”
Harry (Downey): “I didn’t intend to! It’s not like I did it for kicks!”

STAY TUNED FOR MY “EVIL DEAD II” REVIEW @4:30!

16 thoughts on “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

    • “On fire” is actually the perfect way to describe him here. 🙂 Especially during that “I peed on the corpse” scene. That’s one of those rare scenes that I just go back and watch sometimes to turn my mood around. Classic.

  1. Yeah, this really deserves that score and like you mention I really love the fact it breaks the fourth wall and also plays with the viewer. The scene in which the label of his jacket is sticking out is a good example. As you are watching it you notice it and wonder why nobody caught that and then the other character does something about it. It’s also extremely funny and your review really makes me want to rewatch it again.

    • Oh my god you’re right! I just read your comment and looked up his filmography. Apparently, he’s been in about twenty movies since Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and I hadn’t hear of a single one of them. No wait I’d heard of Deja Vu (and seen it), but it was a pretty lackluster action movie. Oh and McGruber, but I’d forgotten that existed.

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