Monday, June 25, 2007

KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005), or Batman Meets Ironman

Anyone who has worked with Brando comes away a little fey. Johnny Depp in DON JUAN DEMARCO, Karl Malden in STREETCAR, and Val Kilmer in THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. Okay I’m wrong about Malden but there’s no doubt working with Brando is transformative. No actor is ever the same. No one has ever cried more realistically on screen than Brando, I’m thinking of a scene in LAST TANGO where he’s crying remembering his dead wife. Hell, Brando’s essence even got Red Buttons an Oscar for SAYONARA. Larry King is a better interviewer since Brando layed one on him.

Val Kilmer works his magic in the Robert Downey Jr. thriller KISS KISS BANG BANG. Downey had me at CHAPLIN and his real-life personal problems caused [and may again cause] one of the great losses in modern film acting. Reminds me of Darryl Strawberry, who also admits to his problems and prefers jail to rehab. Downey was clean again, enough so to star in this modern day pulp fiction. Kilmer is a gay shamus, Downey plays a thief posing as an actor posing as a private dick. They work together reluctantly on two overlapping cases of murder, mistaken identity, and more murder.

There’s beautiful women, more stiffs than a CPA convention, and a healthy dose of sadism. [Like Connery said of the Bond series, “It’s sadism for the family.”] The body count is higher than Paul McCartney past the customs gate. There’s a genuinely funny torture scene yet just as brutal as the one in CASINO ROYALE (2007). Kilmer gets them out of a jam in this and two other instances using his gay sensibility, but there’s nothing offensive or mincing or condescending about it. He is laugh out loud funny.

Director and writer Shane Black has made a low budget classic with high budget production values and perfs. There's a neat title sequence too, so watch this one from 00:00 to end.

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