Its 1977 Los Angeles.
Now, when a movie opens late at night with a kid sneaking off with dad’s porn mag, then moments later a car driven by a well-known porn star careens through his house and lands in the backyard…. well you know you’re about to watch something pretty special.
Enter Jackson Healy (Crowe), a Private Investigator who is basically a thug for hire and specialises in ensuring dirty old men stay away from pretty young girls. Then there is Holland March (Gosling), an alcoholic Private Investigator who seems to just stumble from one disaster to another and (kind of) rips off old ladies.
When March is hired to find a missing girl, Amelia (Qualley) and Healy is hired to stop him, their world’s collide and hilarity ensues.
Both Healy and March are at the bottom of their respective games, the types who slink around at the very edges of humanity, taking what they can get.
Healy lumbers around with a heaviness that embodies his reality. He knows that somewhere, somehow, he fucked up and this is his penance. He lives alone, separate from society but says he happy this way.
March on the other hand seems bewildered by his very existence. As a single parent to the quick-witted and very clever Holly (Rice), he has a perpetual look of vague surprise on his face. His daughter proves smarter than him in so many ways and his simple acceptance of the fact brings much of the movie’s heart.
With it’s leading men so deeply flawed, it would be easy to slide into dark, tacky territory but with a scathingly clever script and some outrageously funny lines delivered absolutely deadpan, this little gem is film noir at it’s best. It lacks style and finesse but with a gloriously cheesy, sleazy 1970’s Los Angeles as the backdrop, this movie is a joy to behold.
The young Australian actress Rice, who was amazing in one of my all time favourites Aussie movies, These Final Hours (you can read my review here) is a young star on the rise. She holds her own in every, single scene with both of these powerhouse leading men. She is the antithesis of every other thing is this movie and she is remarkable.
It would take me a week to unravel the plot so my advice is to sit back and just let it roll over you. This is a buddy movie with bite. Think Lethal Weapon (the Director Black actually penned that script so I found out today) but with a lot more edge.
Love Sue-Ellen xx
Director : Shane Black
Starring : Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Beau Knapp, Lois Smith, Kim Basinger
Running Time : 116 minutes
Release Date : May 26