The Nice Guys
Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are hilarious in this wisecracking buddy-movie from Shane Black
Although he directed Iron Man 3 in 2013, it has been over a decade since the last true Shane Black film – 2005's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – and The Nice Guys wastes no time in reminding us what we've been missing. The first hour of the film finds Black on peak form, delivering all of the wisecracking dialogue and sudden explosions of violence that we could hope for, as deadbeat private eye Holland March (Gosling) and gruff bruiser Jackson Healy (Crowe) are reluctantly united in the hunt for a missing porn star.
The second half is less satisfying, with the increasingly slapdash and murky plotting becoming more of a problem, but Black recovers with a climactic sequence of escalating slapstick action, and the actors are always a treat. Crowe and a particularly hilarious Gosling haven't been this engaging or energised on screen in years, while teenager Angourie Rice is a real find as Gosling's character's daughter. The film might be called The Nice Guys, but it's the nice girl who gives Black's trademark darkly comic perspective a crucial moral centre.