The Summer season is in full swing and whilst big, epic blockbusters and sequels are welcomed, there's nothing quite like an original film and that's exactly what we get with Shane Black's latest comedy, The Nice Guys.

There are few writer/directors out there that have a stellar, near flawless reputation, for delivering one remarkable film after another. One name that comes to mind is Shane Black, with his writing collection including the likes of Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout - both which were very good films - with two directing credits also by his name, in 2005's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Marvel's Iron Man 3 - both, again, were great films. Black is one of the finest storytellers and filmmakers working today but it's a rarity to see him in the directing chair. However, when he does get behind the camera to direct a film, you can be assured that it's going to be a guaranteed hit. His latest film, which he co-wrote and directed, The Nice Guys, is another winner as Black knocks it out of the park for yet another home-run, delivering yet another stunning film.

Taking place in a 1977 Los Angeles setting, The Nice Guys follow the unexpected pairing of tough guy Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) and private investigator Holland March (Ryan Gosling). The former is a loyal, respctable fixer that goes around beating people up for those who hire him; the latter is a wimpy private investigator that rips off his clients and doesn't care for morals or anything but himself and his daughter Holly (Angourie Rice). When March and Healy's fates intertwine, when the latter comes to beat the former up, the pair must set aside their differences and try to work together to find a missing girl: Amelia (Margaret Quailey), who disappears after she gets caught up in a murder. As the pair begin to get more involved with the case, they soon get entangled in a mystery surrounding an adult film, when the death count starts rising around them as a result of it, all whilst a couple of guys are on their back, out to get them and to get Amelia.

Contrary to most films that Hollywood is churning out nowadays, what makes The Nice Guys so great is just how fresh and original it is. The premise and the characters are wholly unique and the dialogue is slick and intelligent; the screenplay from Black and co-writer Anthony Bagarozzi is smart and electrifying and beats along quickly and neatly, never fizzling for even a second. It's absolutely hilarious too, with laughs coming thick and fast, right from the opening scene to the very last. The humour is intelligent and absolutely, gut-bustingly hilarious; scene after scene will have you in tears. It's a testament to the witty, sharp witty writing from Black and Bagarozzi, with the comedy not letting up for a second. In between the jokes, the action is violent and gory and brutal. Shane Black has always had a way with action sequences and his direction of them here is great; it all comes with purpose and is helmed so brilliantly. The filmmaker's direction of the material is exceptional.
This is a film that works so well because of its craft and the remarkable craftsmanship, as a filmmaker and as a storyteller, from Black. It also works because of the characters he has crafted in the screenplay. Both Holland March and Jackson Healy are such charismatic, likable and witty guys. The script makes them both feel so genuine, with personalities and depth, so well-realised on the big-screen. The acting is superb too and Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling both crush it in their roles, giving excellent performances. They make a stellar pairing, firing off on all cylinders and playing so well off of one another. There is such veritable chemistry between them and they're a comedic duo to be reckoned with - which is something I never thought I'd say. A comedic role seems atypical for Crowe, whereas an action role seems atypical for Gosling, yet the pair are so great here. They both bring so much heart and humour to the film and are utterly hilarious and brilliant, having a ball with the material - Gosling's March especially, with his one-liners, is a standout contender for one of the best characters in a comedy ever. Kim Basinger lends some heavyweight support too in what is basically an extended cameo. However, it's Angourie Rice as Holly March that steals the show. Her turn as the more cool, calculated and level-headed character from the bunch is great and she steals every scene she is in; demanding your attention.

The Nice Guys is one of the best films of the year. It's certainly one of the best comedies of the year, perhaps even the past few years. Black and Bagarozzi's screenplay is smart, hilarious and original. This film is as fresh and unique as they come and a very welcomed treat in an industry now so over-crowded with reboots, remakes, sequels, adaptations etc. With possibility of future films on the horizon, here's to hoping we see more from Jackson Healy and Holland March because we could have a fresh new franchise on our hands. This is one of the rare cases where you go to see a movie and you don't want it to end.

The film just short of perfect, however, and the premise can get fairly complex and convoluted at times which lets it down but it still can't take away from the fact that The Nice Guys is such a wonderful film, regardless. It's absolutely tons of fun to watch and completely engrossing from start to finish - quite simply, a crowd-pleasing delight. Crowe and Gosling make a remarkable team as our eponymous nice guys, with some great support from Rice, keeping them in check. The similarities to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang are certainly present but The Nice Guys is deservedly up there as another Shane Black classic for its own merits, and deservedly so. This film is genius.

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe make a stellar pairing firing on all cylinders in The Nice Guys, Shane Black's latest unique, hilarious and genius picture: a roaring triumph.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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