12 Days of Christmas Movies: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

kiss-kiss-bang-bang-kilmer-monaghan-downeyIt’s Christmas in Los Angeles, and all through the house, there were murderers, and liars, and Iron Man about. I love Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Written and Directed by Shane Black, the writer of the Lethal Weapon movies,  the film stars Robert Downey Jr. (who Black would later direct again in Iron Man 3) as Harry Lockhart, a low-level thief who accidently barges in on an acting audition while running from the police. To keep up appearances, he goes through with the audition, which is for a private detective role, and actually gets the part. He is then flown out to LA where he is paired with Val Kilmer who plays Gay Perry, an actual private detective who is going to train Downey on the ways of sleuthing. Introduce Michelle Monaghan as Harmony Faith Lane, an emotionally wrecked struggling actress who’s sister had apparently committed suicide, but who Harmony believes was actually murdered. In an attempt to impress Harmony, Harry explains that he is a private detective and that he will help solve Harmony’s sister’s case.

If you are having trouble keeping count, Harry is a thief pretending to be an actor pretending to be a private eye. The whole film unfolds over one Christmas holiday in LA and it is an incredibly fun roller-coaster of murder and deceit. But while there is plenty of action, the film is a comedy at its heart. It is very self-aware, as has become a style Shane Black uses regularly. Robert Downey Jr. Narrates the entire film with a very natural, tongue-in-cheek, style that speaks directly to the audience. There is no such thing as a fourth wall in this film. The movie is also incredibly in love with L.A. noire fiction. People talk in ways that no human actually speaks in this film. And that is alright. It may be an annoyance to some that the dialogue never really has any meaning to it. It exists to simply exist. Similarly, the plot pushes forward, but rarely because of the efforts of the cast. They are often witnesses to events like the audience, constantly trying to catch up with what is happening in front of them. It is an incredibly fun conceit which makes for an exciting viewing experience.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love made me see: The Ice Harvest

On the second day of Christmas, my true love made me see: Scrooged

On the third day of Christmas, my true love made me see: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

6 responses to “12 Days of Christmas Movies: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

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