After a long departure from film, writer Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) is back, with his directorial debut, Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. The basic premise is this: a small-time thief (Robert Downy Jr.) is brought to Los Angeles to audition for an acting role, and ends up in the middle of a murder investigation. His former high-school sweetheart (Michelle Monaghan) and a private investigator (Val Kilmer) round out the three leads.
The story is almost too complex to talk about. And even if I could, I’d rather not say too much about it – because you should really just go see this film. I was fortunate to attend a private screening (8 of us in the screening room at Warner Brothers), and we all loved it. The movie is incredibly well written – it’s a modern-day noir film. Not in the Sin City way, but in the classic 1940s archetype way.
The pacing is dead-on, and it’s never boring. The voice-over by Downey is awesome, and will cause fits of laughter at the right moments. Black’s penchant for pop-culture references (and a weird insistance for almost all of his movies to take place around Christmas) is uncanny. It might date the film in 10 years, but hey – let’s hope people at least see it! And there are certainly a plethora of quotable lines!
John Ottman’s score fits the movie perfectly – it’s sneaky and noir-ish, and works transparently without becoming overbearing. The movie won’t be out until November, most likely, and it’s playing the festival circuit at the moment – so we’ll see how it does overall. But it got some great buzz at Cannes, and I definitely recommend it.