Writer: Shane Black & Anthony Bagarozzi
Composer: John Ottman & David Buckley
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, & Margaret Qualley
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Genre: Drama, Comedy
The film certainly upheld itself to the positive reviews and box office rating. Crowe and Gosling successfully pull off great chemistry. While the film does become somewhat predictable, the time period, characters, and mix of drama and comedy make it all the more enjoyable, engaging, and interesting.
Violent Content: There are a number of shoot-outs in the film along with semi-brutal interrogations. The fights involve an amount of blood based on how the scenes play out.
Language/Crude Humor: Profanity is used throughout, from ‘F’ words to God****.
Sexual Content: Because the plot involves the porn industry and the sexual revolution, there is a large amount of graphic nudity and sexuality throughout, from adult magazines to prostitutes.
Drug/Alcohol Content: Holland is a heavy alcoholic and is drunk in two or three scenes. Other scenes involve drinks at parties.
Spiritual Content: None.
Negative Content: Sexualization, scandals, interrogations, shoot-outs, practically all of the above. While the writing and plot are great, I do not highly recommend it among the Christian audience.
Positive Content: Due to his past, Jackson seeks redemption and a place for being used for good. Holland struggles as he tries to be a successful father to his daughter despite the pressure of his job.
From the opening to the end of the film the audience truly gets a feel of what the 1970’s was, from fashion styles to disco music in the city of Los Angeles. One can easily notice that the writers, location scouts, and directors did thorough research to bring the 1970’s feel to life on the big screen. Those that are post 1970’s have a taste of life back then, while those of the 1970’s certainly are reminded of their experiences.
The plot itself is one that can be recognized in past films yet brings a different feel and new energy, from the characters to the setting. Because it is a cop film to an extent, there are certain plot points and character connections the audience must make on their own, which is not necessarily a bad thing, the audience just has to pay attention and remain thoroughly engaged throughout.
Adding on to the surroundings and time period is the successful character chemistry between Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. The two Private Investigators, are completely opposite in personality and in how they handle their jobs. How Russell Crowe portrays his character is how I would suspect him to in the first place: controlled, rough and tough, organized, and calm to an extent. On the other side of the spectrum is Ryan Gosling, who is very different compared to his past films such as Drive (2011) and The Big Short (2015). While his character is a Private Investigator, he does not come off as fierce or intimidating like Russell Crowe. Rather, he comes off as unorganized, quirky, and he acts without thinking, all while trying to balance the relationship with his daughter.
One minor character that played a rather large contributing role was the daughter of Gosling’s character, Holly (Angourie Rice). Like her father, she acts in the moment as she brings her curiosity to solving the case. To see child actors act this well reminds me just how much they can contribute to film despite their ages and limits.
While this film is under the genre of drama, it brings a good amount of comedic relief throughout, primarily in dialogue exchange between Gosling and Crowe and how certain scenes are executed with minor characters and plot points. The comedy is enjoyable, but it is not gut busting either. Rather, it is just enough to keep the audience entertained and engaged throughout the film without distracting from the major focus.
It is understandable as to why a number of scenes that contained nudity or sexual arousal made due to the fact that this was the decade of the sexual revolution and the victim was involved in the pornography industry. This being said, a large amount of the sexuality and nudity felt it was more for show than connecting to the story. Throughout the first half of the film, it felt very forced and very unnecessary. Again, understanding the time period and setting plus the plot, it was necessary but not to the extent in this execution.
Dialogue: Excellent. Character Chemistry: Perfect. Plot: Recognizable but with a few twists. While it is not a buddy cop movie, The Nice Guys certainly has that feel with Crowe and Gosling. Based on the successful dialogue and time setting portrayal, the film brought something new to the action/dark comedy drama.
+ Character Chemistry + Solid Plot + Balance of Drama & Comedy
- Unnecessary Sexualization
The Bottom Line
While the large amount of sexuality is unnecessary, the plot, character development and chemistry is solid. The balance of drama and comedy gives the film an edge as the audience remains engaged and interested throughout.