This holiday season, we at Psycho Drive-In would like to introduce you to the good, the bad, and ugly of not just any Holiday Films, but the Holiday Films you may have forgotten, overlooked, or just didn’t realize were Holiday Films. There’s no Rankin-Bass, no Miracles on any streets, no traditional happy family gathering fare. Instead there’s a lot of blood, violence, some terrorists, monsters, and even aliens. Plus more than a couple of bizarre Anti-Santas to go around. Twelve days, twelve films, twelve opportunities to amuse and disturb your families this holiday season. On the Eighth Day of Christmas, Dave Hearn gives to you, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005). A successful Christmas movie should have three elements. It should be fun, it should empower and it should provide hope. Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang wraps all of those elements in a dynamic, L.A. detective story that is as sarcastic as it is self-aware. It gives us all the familiar tropes of film noir; voice-over narration, a hard-boiled detective, a glamorous dame, and a hidden evil. Every theme is turned upside down and we never get what’s expected. The pace is frantic and no scene is wasted. Like all great Christmas movies, there’s even a mysterious “spirit” that connects all things. The most entertaining detective is the detective who isn’t a detective. Harry Lockhart isn’t quite the “everyman” but he’s close enough to provide an open and slightly informed perspective. It’s through Harry’s eyes that we witness the movie. All the characters filter through him and he’s the conduit from which we experience their motivations. Robert Downey Jr. delivers Harry with his trademarked quick wit proving that, even when he’s not in control, he’s the most important person in the room. As Tony Stark in Iron Man and Avengers, Robert Downey Jr.’s persona rolls over every other performance and they all become his narrative servants. Not even Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle can compete. In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan not only prove themselves his equal, delivering lightning fast retorts and grounding Harry’s ridiculousness but even outshine him at times. Their performances never feel competitive, trying to out “zing” each other, it’s natural. Synergistic. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was probably the first time you saw Michelle Monaghan. I know it was was for me. Her character is vulnerable and strong all at once. We’ve seen how brilliant she can be in True Detective and that supreme capability is in full flower here. Harmony isn’t a pixie girl. She’s not there to fulfill anyone else’s needs, she has her own motivations. She needs no protection. Harmony is damaged, smart, quick witted and strong. I will stand firmly by the assertion that Gay Perry is the role of Val Kilmer’s life. His is a controlling presence and he owns every scene in which he appears. In fact, he out “Robert Downey Jr’s” Robert Downey Jr. Yes, he’s called “Gay Perry” and that actually works in favor of homosexuality in general. So confident in its gay character, this movie isn’t afraid to be insulting. It’s refreshing and empowering. Perry isn’t a “token” gay person whom we become so familiar with in film; flamboyant and full of advice. He is large and in charge and he just happens to be gay. Honestly, Gay Perry should be counted among the greatest film detectives alongside Marlowe and Hammer. If I didn’t think it would diminish the magic of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, I would say Kilmer deserves a franchise with Gay Perry. The three leads combined to form an avatar of Johnny Gossamer, the fictional detective that permeates every facet of the film. They don’t quite match Freud’s id, ego and superego but they’re close enough for my purposes. The idea of Gossamer acts as Angel and Devil. He’s our fiction come to pass judgment on us, like Santa Claus he rewards and punishes. Gossamer giveth and he taketh away. He is destruction and rebirth. As the connective tissue of film goes, Gossamer kicks Rosebud’s ass. Every moment in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is fantastic. Shane Black wrote the script, based loosely on a gritty detective novel called Bodies are Where you Find Them, and he is not afraid to let the film wander. Black also directed the movie, seamlessly weaving unconnected events into a tremendous whole. Every performance is a gift and no one has wasted screen time. The plot itself is typical mystery faire; dead bodies, misdirection, busted leads. Even so, the film is never truly predictable. It’s cynical and hopeful at the same time. I didn’t think such a thing was possible. Kiss Kiss even manages a happy ending. There are no elves, no jingle bells and no Santa but this movie delivers us a gift all the same. The best damn detective movie of the modern age. See larger image Kiss Kiss Bang Bang [Blu-ray] New From: $10.54 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.