It’s the first day of December and coincidentally it’s also the first day of ‘The James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films’
And what do we have lurking behind door 1?
Why it’s only Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Which is one of a number of Christmas(ish) films attributable to writer/director Shane Black, a man who thinks that Christmas and violence go together like icing and marzipan.
And who are we to argue? Kiss Kiss Bang Bang certainly has much to enjoy. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed romp with film noir undertones, that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Monaghan and Val Kilmer spark off each other well, with the latter delivering some of the movie’s most quotable lines. It’s not the most original of plots, but the film has no pretensions of originality. Indeed much of the ‘fourth wall’ breaking (attributable predominantly to Downey Jr.’s Harry) alludes to the many tropes within the film and makes them ‘sort of’ OK in the process.
All in all it’s an agreeable way to pass 103 minutes. It is, sometimes, a little too ‘meta’ for it’s own good, but it’s also funny, expeditious and never boring. You can probably work out ‘whodunit’ in the first five minutes but that isn’t to the detriment of the entertainment value of the film.
Score for Christmasishness:
I mean it’s set at Christmas. There are, I think, sleigh bells to be heard as the music plays to the opening credits, but it’s hardly a central theme. There are a few references to the festive period at the beginning. Downey-Jr.’s ‘Harry’ is involved in a heist-that-goes-wrong, where he appears to be attempting to steal a Christmas gift for his nephew. There’s also a fairly witty monologue from Monaghan‘s ‘Harmony’ about how she feels that Rudolph is a victim of ‘reindeer racism’. Then the festive theme largely disappears, aside from decorations in the background and a weird, ‘not-very-Christmassy’ Christmas party in the middle of the film.