Dir. Shane Black. USA. 2005.

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is the story of well –meaning, small time crook Harry Lockhart (Played by the incredible Robert Downey Jr), who, after running away from a burglary, accidentally runs in on an audition and gets the part in a Hollywood movie. When he gets there he meets ‘Gay’ Perry (Val Kilmer) who is charged with giving him detective lessons, and Harmony (Michelle Monaghan) actress, who he had a crush on at school. When the three get embroiled in a real life murder mystery, they must all work together or become victims themselves…

The first time I watched it, I will level with you, it didn’t make sense. The plot was confusing, people got killed who you thought were already dead, and at the end, I had a really sore head.

It didn’t matter one bit though. It is so stylish and so funny, that it’s just an absolute joy to watch, and begs repeat viewing. So far I have watched it four times, and always see something new.

So, what is it that makes this such a good film? In my opinion it’s a combination of perfect casting and fantastic dialogue.. Robert Downey Jr. as the charmingly flawed Harry manages to elicit sympathy in a role in which other actors may have found tricky to do so. Val Kilmer masters the cynical detective with a soft heart, ‘Gay’ Perry and the relationship between him and Harry is in turn hilarious and touchingly poignant. Michelle Monaghan as Harmony could be wrongly overlooked as the token attractive woman, but she plays a far more important role than that. She grounds Harry and ‘Gay’ Perry; gives them motivation the glue that holds them together as well as being a witty character in her own right.

Shane Black’s screenplay is simply the perfect script for the perfect cast. Highlights are Harry’s continuous noir-esque commentary, as well as the farcical situations he finds himself in (notably urinating on the corpse and having his finger chopped off), and the humorous asides between him and ‘Gay’ Perry.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a film to lavish superlatives at. It is thrilling, riotous, unique, and adventurous and arguably the most underrated film ever made. Watch it, and I promise you, you will not regret it.

Chloe Walker

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