Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Review
"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", Silver Pictures, 2005
Providing the groundworks for more celebrated comedy-crime thrillers like "Nice Guys", Black's wholly original mesh of obnoxiously humorous wit, awkward crudeness and stylised naturalness collides together in a purely fun and entertaining way, taking an introspective look at film noir that revels in the lunacy of genre-bound themes like chance that often ties up the story.
The director does an incredible job at not only crafting a very precise sense of tone, but also encouraging the audience to engage with it. From the theatrical-yet-grounded characters that are wonderfully casted and written to the unorthodox and showy use of colour and light, Black perfectly encapsulates the thrilling rabbit hole that is the screenplay, with a stylistically lavish design that brings to life the true humanity of the triage's relationship. This is enhanced by the dizzying pacing with constant juggling of the plot-lines that not only interweave in often absurdist ways, but manage to feel tangible and justified. The playfulness of the film's personality doesn't end there - through the reeled-in intensity of Black's directing style and his attention to the delivery of the wit being presented through the lovably awkward lens of Downey Jr's low-key skittish characterisation, both the dark comedy manages to remain tasteful and the more intimate moments provide a fitting glimpse into the ill moral fibre of Hollywood. This treatment of bold nuance that presents the familiarity of the story also provides a fitting platform for the peddling irony of the murder-mystery-esque twists and turns that come to inhabit the personal conflicts, propelling the diegesis in self-aware ways that not only provides a sense of structure that shapes the humour, but reflects on the moral compasses of the character archetypes and recognises the individual charm of these characters as fully-dimensional people, without losing the bite of their sharp and detailed characterisation. Whilst the director's focus on entangling the audience within the wilfully convoluted mystery of the conspiracy is occasionally lost amidst the cheeky sense of stylishness that the writing chooses to constantly keep moulding, the deadpan tonal consistency cleverly reminds them of their role as performers to the omnipotent powers of the film industry.
"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", overall, is an early example of Shane Black sharpening the witty sparks of his talents as a writer/director, following through on the want to explore the darkness that lies beneath the glamour of voyeurism whilst keeping the story thrilling in both spectacularly extraordinary and awkwardly absurdist ways.