Saturday, 28 June 2014

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

So I recently watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang all the way through (I ran into some troubles the first time I tried to watch it, turns out some of those tooooootally legal websites for watching films can sometimes be awfully unreliable) and so I have some thoughts on the film, as one does.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang film 2005 poster
Blue blue white white red red.
So, a quick summary for those who haven't seen it: A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor. 

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 2005 film robert downey Jr gif
When you're watching game of thrones and the
end titles roll and you're left like this.
So Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a neo-noir thriller with hints of influences from Quentin Tarantino and I think it's great. Our worthy narrator Harry Lockhart (played by Robert Downey Jr. himself) haphazardly guides us through the film, swearing and cursing at his own lack of ability to be a good narrator as he does so. In the summary I included previously (which I may or may not have nicked off IMDb, who are you to judge me?), it mentions a private eye, a struggling actress and a thief pretending to be an actor. Well dear old Harry Lockhart is our criminal turned actor (also turned detective, but more on that later). He's drunken, foul-mouthed, seems to operate without a filter between his brain and his mouth, is surprisingly naive and usually has his heart in the right place. You know, as naive and loveable and well-meaning as criminals can be. His life is suddenly turned upside down when he inexplicably gets swept up into the glamorous world of acting through means that I shall not divulge because spoilers! This is where he meets a variety of interesting characters, at a classy Hollywood party; but more importantly for the audience, we meet his childhood friend, the struggling actress, as well as the previously mentioned private eye!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 2005 film michelle monaghan gif
I know you from somewhere but I've checked your
IMDb and nothing popped out at me. Fuck.
Childhood friend, or rather better known as Harmony Faith Lane (played by Michelle Monaghan), is our leading lady who, surprisingly enough, is given funny dialogue and is actually written to be funny and pulls it off! Far too often do I sit down to a film that's described as hilarious and what not and I am subjected to the male characters, yes, being very funny, but all the female characters are boiled down to singular personality traits like "the voice of reason" or, in other words, "completely and utterly fucking humourless". It's tiring, because believe it or not, women are fucking funny! I know, shocking, right? Anyway, moving forward. Harmony is our struggling actress, with only a few bizarre beer commercials under her belt and a love for the Johnny Gossamer series of books, she suddenly finds herself reunited with her childhood chum. Now, one thing you should know about our friend Harry Lockhart is that he is more or less a compulsive liar. His lies are often very wild and extravagant and whilst talking with one of Harmony's friends he somehow manages to slip into conversation with her that he is a detective. Whilst their relationship begins to develop, it hits a bit of a roadblock and Harmony has to enlist the help of Harry, whom she believes to be a detective. Backed into a corner and seeing no way out of this, Harry plays along and agrees to help her in her hour of need, because he's a guy who genuinely just wants to help. And he may or may not have feeeelings for her as well. This leads us to why he even lied about being a detective in the first place (aren't I good at segues?)! Enter Perry. Gay Perry.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 2005 film Val Kilmer gay gif
He's a gay bigtime.
So we've covered the struggling actress, the thief turned actor and now through the process of elimination we have arrived at the private eye, Perry (portrayed by Val Kilmer). The incredibly stylish Perry, sporting lavishly expensive suits and an effortlessly cool attitude, mostly of contempt for Harry's idiot existence. Despite his seeming disregard for anything involving Harry, he is employed by the movie company that Harry is involved with to give him lessons on how to act like a real P.I. as that's the role that Harry has been flown all the way out to audition for; which then leads to Harry lying about being a Private Eye. But soon after the two get together, that's when everything starts to go wrong. Although it is Harry and Harmony where the main romance is derived from, I think there is a lot to be said about Harry and Perry's chemistry. Their what can only really be described as an...anti-friendship generates some of the biggest laughs in the film. Well, generally any scene with Perry being his good ole snarky, sarcastic self is funny enough to fuel the film with what are arguably some of the best one-liners ever. It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud at films. Sure, I find things funny without physically laughing out loud at them - gentle exhalations through my nose or a non-committal grunt of appreciation is enough to make me label something as funny - but I actually laughed properly out loud throughout Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 2005 film christmas outfit screenshot
This is making me unnecessarily Christmass-y. Only 180 days to go!
I think that Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is an excellent mixture of many different elements. The classic LA neo-noir thriller, Tarantino-esuqe violence, black humour, and some genuine heart breaking moments. Harmony's back story brings a very different type of darkness to an already dark film, lacing a self aware and somewhat silly film with some very serious moments. Other times of more grounded moments arise when Harry (both actively and passively) allows harm to come to other people. Deep down, he's not a bad guy; bravado and all the P.I. lessons aside, he's not someone with whom being responsible as the cause of another person's harm sits well. This does give us a moment to breathe amongst the rapid fire back and forths and the over the top violence and enjoy the slower, more tender moments of the film. It does act as a refreshing change of pace interspersed throughout the movie.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 2005 film robert downey Jr phone gif
Aw baby, please no!
Now on that cheery note, I shall wrap things up! Away with you all and watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang!


  1. Tangent - every time I hear the name of this film I think of the Specimen song. You can take the girl from goth...

  2. Finally read this, I now want to watch this film again. Curse you, if I could have curry and this film every night of my life I will be happy.