Friday, June 6, 2008

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

extra ntf 11.8
Originally uploaded by sean's jawns
I have an irrational love of film noir. Tell me a film is noir influenced and I will probably see the film no questions asked. In light of this it is no surprise that one of my favorite films of the last few years is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

This neo-noir is written and directed by Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black, and is the directorial debut of Black; it stars the supremely talented Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan. From its use of narration, flash backs, criminal themes, and dark humor it is instantly obvious that this film loves and respects the noirs that came before it (even using Raymond Chandler book titles as headings for parts of the film), but wants to create its own off-beat take on the genre.

The first way Kiss Kiss Bang Bang breaks ground in neo-noir is by its use of the narrator in Robert Downey Jr. (Harry). Instead of idly narrating the story to himself or another character in the film (think Walter Neff’s character in Double Indemnity) Harry speaks directly to the audience breaking the fourth wall*, commenting on not only what you should be paying attention to as it’s probably important to the story, but degrading his own talent at narration. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a reflexive film; its techniques draw attention to the fact that it is a film that you are watching, and is indirectly about the process of making a film.

Harry comes to Hollywood where all his troubles begin because while fleeing the scene of a crime he hides in an audition for a crime drama and gets the part. He is then flown out to Hollywood to screen test, and while taking detective lesions from “Gay” Perry (Val Kilmer) he becomes embroiled in a murder mystery involving his producer’s daughter and his high school sweetheart turned actress’s kid sister.

This film is a funny, thrilling, yet tongue-in-cheek love affair of all that makes film noir memorable and fabulous and should be seen by anyone that wants a good laugh, great acting or just a great crime film.

Writer & Director: Shane Black
Harry: Robert Downey Jr.
”Gay” Perry: Val Kilmer
Harmony: Michelle Monaghan
Harlan Dexter: Corbin Bernsen
Dabney: Larry Miller

Harry: I peed on the corpse. Can they do, like, an ID from that?
Perry: I'm sorry, you peed on...?
Harry: On the corpse. My question is...
Perry: No, my question. I get to go first. Why in pluperfect hell would you pee on corpse?

Harry: Wow, I feel sore. I mean physically, not like a guy who's angry in a movie in the 1950's.

*The 4th Wall is a term used in theatre, film and tv referring to the imaginary barrier between the audience and the world of the characters.

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