(2005) dir. Shane Black
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is pretty darn funny and enjoyable. Ultimately, I think it’s due more to a good script and good performances by Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan. I say this because I think the direction is pretty awful and clutters what could have been potentially a great film with over-stylized visuals and cluttered sequences that are often also poorly lit. Not everyone can be Christopher Doyle.
The film is a riff on the pulp detective genre and adapted (one guesses loosely) from a Brett Halliday novel. It pays significant homage to the genre and potentially directly to Halliday and his protagonist Mike Shayne by featuring a trope with a fictional version of the same thing.
Ultimately, it’s about Los Angeles, too, and Hollywood, and it references Raymond Chandler significantly by titling each “day” of the film with a title of one of Chandler’s novels. Not subtle if you are familiar with his work.
The film works because of the acting performances and some genuinely funny moments. It could be frustrating because it really had the potential to be a better film in the right hands, but because I wasn’t expecting much, the whole thing grew and grew on me in the duration. It’s a fun piece.