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Shane Black's 2005 KISS KISS BANG BANG is a film of delirious contradictions. It is part comedy, part tragedy, a bawdy pulp parody and a heartfelt hardboiled homage. The mix would be too eclectic if the film didn't constantly signal its awareness that it is doing something that should be impossible. Black's self-conscious screenplay uses the generic traits of hardboiled to examine the status of hardboiled stories and characters today, poking fun at itself all the while. In this vein, it could be likened to BRICK and THE ICE HARVEST, which similarly find comi-tragic inspiration in a literary tradition while largely abandoning the classic noir visual style. While noir fans may be tempted to track down the movie's numerous references to other novels and films, the greater payoff comes from simply appreciating Black's superb writing and the sublime comic acting of Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards, of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.
Direct download: OOTP_2007_09_01_KKBB.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:01 AM
Comments[2]

  • A real slick show, reflective of the subject matter, i\\\'d say. This film is such a creation of L.A., so savvy and absurd. Is it posisble for a contemporary noir to play it straight? I can\\\'t think of many that aren;t rather arch and ironic or don;t have a surreal angle like Brick or Novocaine.

    posted by: Paolo on 2007-09-07 06:54:00

  • Great show, guys. This is definitely an under-appreciated film. I picked up a few Mike Shayne books -- curious if they\'re also an influence on the film as the cover art looks so strikingly similar to the Harlan Dexter books.

    posted by: Mike White on 2008-05-21 13:26:00

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