The Nice Guys

The Nice Guys is a 2016 American mystery-crime thriller neo-noir action comedy film directed by Shane Black and written by Black and Anthony Bagarozzi. The film stars Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David and Kim Basinger and follows a pair of 1977 Los Angeles private eyes who investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl.

From the first scene you understand that although there’s gonna be violence, this movie means to have a sense of humour. Its 1977 Los Angeles and a boy who steals a nudie mag from his dad’s collection ogles at pics of centerfold and adult film star Misty Mountains and a few seconds later a car crashes through his house. He goes to the woods behind his house to find a naked Misty dying in the ruins of the car and as she passes away he drapes his shirt over her body. Later that week, down-on-his-luck private eye Holland March is approached by Mrs. Glenn, the aunt of Misty Mountains who is obsessively claiming to have seen her niece alive after her supposed death. He does not believe the elderly woman but takes the job anyway when he finds out that teenager Amelia Kuttner, who is known to be missing, is somehow involved. Scared by his investigations and not knowing who he is Amelia, who is in fact in hiding, hires unethical enforcer Jackson Healy to intimidate March into staying away from her.

Healy himself is attacked by two thugs, Blue Face and Older Guy, who attempt to interrogate him about Amelia’s whereabouts. He manages to scare them away using a shotgun. He and March join forces to find Amelia and solve the mystery. Holly, March’s precocious and intelligent young daughter, despite her father’s fears, keeps following them despite dad’s attempts to keep her out of the case for her own safety. March and Healey find out that Amelia was working with Misty Mountains and an amateur filmmaker named Dean on an “experimental film”—equal parts pornography and investigative journalism—called How Do You Like My Car, Big Boy? about the smog in Los Angeles. Dean and film’s financier, Sid Shattack, a notorious pornography producer are found dead and Amelia runs into March. Holly, after attempting to investigate on her own, is tricked into a car by Blue Face and Older Guy. Healy fights with Older Guy, while Blue Face tries to kill Amelia from inside his car, only to be stopped by Holly, who warns Amelia and then escapes with her.

While chasing them down, Blue Face is seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Dying in the middle of the road, he reveals to Healy that their boss has dispatched a hit man named John Boy to kill Amelia, March and his family to prevent further witnesses. After a brief investigation, the two are greeted by Amelia’s mother, Judith Kuttner, a high-ranking official in the US Department of Justice, who claims her daughter is delusional and paranoid and points them towards the Las Vegas mob trying to expand into the Los Angeles pornography scene. At a hotel in search of Amelia they find the assassin killing men and sneak away only to have Amelia fall onto their car. They take Amelia back to March’s house, where she reveals that the people after her are working for a cabal of Detroit automakers. After uncovering evidence that they colluded to suppress the catalytic converter (which regulates exhaust emissions), Amelia created the film to expose their collusion. Judith has her assistant, Tally, arrange for March and Healy to deliver a briefcase that supposedly contains $100,000.

When March dozes while driving and accidentally crashes their car, the case flies open to reveal shredded magazines; the double-cross was a diversion to leave Amelia unprotected. John Boy attacks Holly before engaging in a shootout with March and Healy as soon as they return to the house. On hearing police sirens, John Boy drives off while an impatient Amelia has fled the house, only to be killed by John Boy on the street when he inadvertently comes across her attempting to catch a ride. March and Healy try to bring the matter to court, but are rejected, as they have no evidence, leading them again to search for the film. The two have Mrs. Glenn show them where she saw Misty Mountains alive. Inside they find a hidden projector – the nearsighted Mrs. Glenn having mistaken footage of Misty for her niece – and deduce that there was a reprint of the film. They realize that the projectionist, Chet, another protester they had questioned about Dean, is the projectionist for the film and had worked with Amelia to make the film public by splicing it into the presentation film for the Los Angeles Auto Show, which is being held at a hotel.

At the auto show, the two find that John Boy and Older Guy, along with a few other thugs are already there and have interrogated a drunken Chet, learning that the film will be projected automatically from a window of the building. Healy and March attempt to reach it first, only to be intercepted at gunpoint by Tally. Before she can kill them, Holly arrives while pretending to be room service and knocks Tally unconscious. In a subsequent fight, Older Guy falls to his death, while Healy subdues John Boy. He spares his life at Holly’s behest. They take the film to the police, and although Judith is arrested, the Detroit car companies escape punishment. Healy and March decide to continue working together as private eyes, naming their agency “The Nice Guys”.

Funny with a dark sense of humour and some action shots and fighting involved with some nudity, the movie is a surprising change from the usual kind of crime movies we have been getting from Hollywood the last several years. Chalk it out as a good movie to watch on a weekend afternoon. 8 outta 10!

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