Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

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This article is about the 2005 American film. For other uses, see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (disambiguation).
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Kiss kiss bang bang poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shane Black
Produced by Joel Silver
Screenplay by Shane Black
Based on Bodies Are Where You Find Them
by Brett Halliday
Starring
Music by John Ottman
Cinematography Michael Barrett
Edited by Jim Page
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • May 14, 2005 (2005-05-14) (Cannes)
  • October 21, 2005 (2005-10-21) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[2]
Box office $15.8 million[2]

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a 2005 American neo-noir black comedy crime film written and directed by Shane Black, and starring Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan and Corbin Bernsen. The script is partially based on the Brett Halliday novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them, and interprets the classic hardboiled literary genre in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. The film was produced by Joel Silver, with Susan Downey (credited as Susan Levin) and Steve Richards as executive producers.

Shot in Los Angeles between February 24 and May 3, 2004, the film debuted at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival on May 14,[3] and received a limited release in cinemas on October 21, 2005.

Plot[edit]

At a Los Angeles party, Harry Lockhart recounts recent events. Fleeing a botched burglary, Harry's friend is shot, forcing Harry to evade police by ducking into an audition. Harry unintentionally impresses the producers with an outburst of remorse they mistake for method acting. At a Hollywood party before a screen test, Harry meets private investigator Perry van Shrike, hired to give Harry on-the-job experience for his role, and party host Harlan Dexter, a retired actor who recently resolved a ten-year feud over his wife's inheritance with his daughter, Veronica. He also encounters his childhood crush Harmony Lane but wakes up in bed with her hostile friend. He runs over to Harmony's place at 6 a.m. to apologize.

Perry and Harry witness a vehicle being dumped in a lake and are spotted by the apparent killers. Perry shoots the trunk lock in a rescue attempt but accidentally hits the female corpse inside as well. They cannot report the body because it appears Perry killed her.

Harmony contacts Harry, explaining that her sister Jenna came to Los Angeles, stole Harmony's credit cards, and later killed herself. Believing Harry is a detective, Harmony asks him to investigate Jenna's death as a murder. After she leaves, Harry discovers the lake corpse in his bathroom and a planted pistol. Harry and Perry dump the corpse, later identified as Veronica Dexter by police. Harry discovers it was Harmony's credit card that was used to hire Perry to come to the lake, tying Jenna to their case. He goes to see Harmony, who (accidentally) slams the door on his finger, cutting it off, and she takes him to the hospital.

They go to a party, but Harry is abducted, beaten, threatened, and ordered to cease the investigation by the killers from the lake and then let go. While taking Harry back to the hospital, Harmony sees the killers heading to Perry's stakeout. Realizing that Perry is heading into a trap, she leaves Harry in her car and rushes off to the stakeout, where she saves Perry, and one of the killers gets shot to death by a food-cart operator. A pink-haired girl, affiliated with the killers, steals Harmony's car and unwittingly drives an unconscious Harry to her safe house. The remaining lake killer arrives and shoots her; Harry recovers the pistol and shoots the thug. His finger has fallen off again, so he puts it on ice, but a dog jumps up and eats it. Harmony meets Harry at his hotel where she reveals she had told Jenna that Harlan Dexter was her real father. They quarrel in bed, when Harmony reveals she had previously slept with Harry's best friend, and he throws her out, being careful not to slam her fingers in the door.

After Harmony disappears following a lead, Harry and Perry investigate a private health clinic owned by Harlan Dexter. Perry realizes Veronica Dexter was incarcerated there by Harlan so an impostor could drop her court case. The pair capture a guard to question him but accidentally kill him and then are captured by Dexter. He reveals he now plans to cremate his daughter's corpse to remove any remaining evidence. Harry calls Harmony, who had not actually disappeared but had simply gone to work. Harmony steals the van containing the coffin. Harry and Perry escape, but Harmony crashes the van. Perry is incapacitated in the ensuing shootout; Harry manages to kill Dexter and his thugs but is also shot.

Waking in a hospital, Harry finds that Perry and Harmony are fine. Perry reveals Harmony's sister was not murdered but committed suicide. Jenna had escaped incest in Indiana and located Dexter, believing him to be her real father. She accidentally witnessed Dexter having sex with Veronica's impostor, the pink-haired girl. Believing this father was also incestuous, Jenna commissioned Perry and committed suicide.

Perry travels back to Harmony's hometown and confronts Jenna's father, who is now bed-ridden, slapping him multiple times and calling him an animal. When the old man berates Perry for attacking a helpless old man, Perry says simply, "Yeah. Big tough guy," and leaves without further explanation.

Having lost the movie role to Colin Farrell, Harry gets a job working for Perry.

Cast[edit]

  • Robert Downey, Jr. as Harry Lockhart, a petty thief who successfully auditions for a film to escape police officers
    • Indio Falconer Downey as 9-year-old Harry Lockhart
    • Richard Alan Brown as 16-year-old Harry Lockhart
  • Val Kilmer as "Gay" Perry van Shrike, a private investigator hired to help Harry study his role
  • Michelle Monaghan as Harmony Faith Lane, an aspiring actress and Harry's childhood friend
    • Ariel Winter as 7-year-old Harmony Faith Lane
    • Stephanie Pearson as 14-year-old Harmony Faith Lane
  • Corbin Bernsen as Harlan Dexter, a retired actor
  • Rockmond Dunbar as Mustard, one of Dexter's henchmen
  • Dash Mihok as Mr. Frying Pan, one of Dexter's henchmen
  • Shannyn Sossamon as Mia Frye, The Pink-Haired Girl
  • Angela Lindvall as Flicka, Harmony's friend
  • Ali Hillis as Marleah
  • Larry Miller as Dabney Shaw
  • Laurence Fishburne has an uncredited role voicing the bear in a beer commercial.[4]

Production[edit]

Following the bad critical reception of The Long Kiss Goodnight and a rejection letter from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Shane Black decided he would attempt something out of the action genre.[5] Following the example of James L. Brooks, Black attempted to make a romantic comedy, "a quirky story of two kids in L.A." Brooks liked Black's first draft, but felt his later attempts were losing focus.[6] Trying to salvage what he had liked, Brooks suggested Black to imagine Jack Nicholson from As Good As It Gets playing Nicholson's role from Chinatown.[7] This lead Black to add action elements - "I said, you know, 'Fuck it. I have to put a murder in it.'" - and rework the screenplay, adding the character of detective "Gay" Perry,[6] who Black said was an attempt to break stereotypes, as he had never seen "the gay guy who kicks down the door, shoots everyone and bails your ass out before."[8] Old detective novels were a major influence, with Black saying he tried to re-invent the genre "using realistic characters, in a modern setting but with the spirit of 1950s and 1960s".[9] The crime plot drew from Brett Halliday's Bodies Are Where You Find Them, and Black homaged Raymond Chandler by splitting the film into chapters named after Chandler's books. [10]

The script, then titled You’ll Never Die in This Town Again, was rejected by various studios before Joel Silver, who gave Black his first break producing Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout, decided to help him.[7] The leading role of the now retitled L.A.P.I. had been considered for Benicio del Toro, Hugh Grant and Johnny Knoxville.[11] Robert Downey Jr. learned about the film from his then-girlfriend Susan Levin, who worked as Silver's assistant,[12] and as he finished working with Silver in Gothika, the producer and Black brought him in to audition.[13] Downey was eventually cast as they liked his readings and knew he could fit into the small $15 million budget, as his career had been in a downfall following his prison.[5] Levin also suggested to bring in Val Kilmer, who coincidentally had been long interested in making a comedy.[14]

Before principal photography begun, the title became Kiss Kiss Bang Bang because Black felt it was a "blunt and austere title" that described how the plot was "half romantic comedy and half murder mystery."[13] To achieve a neo-noir look, Black screened 1960s films of the genre to cinematographer Michael Barrett and production designer Aaron Osborne, such as Harper and Point Blank. Osborne in particular drew inspiration from the detective book covers by illustrator Robert McGuinness, who was also brought in to draw the covers for the fictional Johnny Gossamer novels that appear in the film.[15] The Hollywood party that opens the film was filmed in Black's own Los Angeles mansion.[6]

Release[edit]

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was screened out of competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.[16] The film's premiere happened at the Chinese Theatre on October 17, as the opener of the Hollywood Film Festival.[8] Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was released on DVD June 13, 2006.

Box office[edit]

The film opened on October 21 in the United States, with a limited release. From its release until mid-November, the film's distribution increased every weekend due to its favorable critical reviews. It stayed in release in the United States until early January.[17] The film earned a total of $4,243,756 in the United States.[2] Kiss Kiss Bang Bang grossed far more outside the United States, accounting for just over 70% of the film's worldwide gross, accumulating $11,541,392.[2] The film ended up earning $15,785,148 worldwide, earning back its budget.[2] Downey was disappointed at the low box office intake, but said Kiss Kiss Bang Bang "ended up being my calling card to Iron Man," as his performance attracted director Jon Favreau. That film marked Downey's career resurrection, and Black would even be brought in to co-write and direct sequel 'Iron Man 3.[5]


Critical response[edit]

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang received positive reviews from critics, with many admiring the film for its sharp and clever comedy, as well as Downey's and Kilmer's screen chemistry and individual performances. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 85%, based on 171 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The critical consensus reads, "Tongue-in-cheek satire blends well with entertaining action and spot-on performances in this dark, eclectic neo-noir homage."[18] On Metacritic, the film has a score 72 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[19]

Mike Russell of The Oregonian observed that "This is one of Downey's most enjoyable performances, and one of Kilmer's funniest. It's a relationship comedy wrapped in sharp talk and gunplay, a triumphant comeback for Black, and one of the year's best movies".[20] Jeff Otto, an IGN critic, wrote that "It takes a bunch of genres and twists them into a blender, a pop relic that still feels current...one of the best times I've had at the movies this year."[21] It was voted "Overlooked Film of the Year" by the 2005 Phoenix Film Critics Society on December 20, 2005.

Roger Ebert's review of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was a mixed 2.5 out of 4 stars. He wrote that the film "contains a lot of comedy and invention, but doesn't much benefit from its clever style. The characters and plot are so promising that maybe Black should have backed off and told the story deadpan, instead of mugging so shamelessly for laughs."[22]

Soundtrack[edit]

The soundtrack to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was released on October 18, 2005.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "The Fair"   John Ottman 1:38
2. "Main Titles"   John Ottman 1:53
3. "Innocent Times"   John Ottman 2:02
4. "Toy Heist"   John Ottman 1:55
5. "Lovely Confessions"   John Ottman 2:30
6. "Surveillance Lesson"   John Ottman 3:22
7. "Harry Smartens Up"   John Ottman 1:48
8. "Dead Girl in Shower"   John Ottman 3:49
9. "Harmony Is Dead?"   John Ottman 1:25
10. "Saving Perry"   John Ottman 4:40
11. "Flashback / Dropping Off Body"   John Ottman 2:38
12. "They Took My Crickets"   John Ottman 1:48
13. "Oh, Nuts!"   John Ottman 2:56
14. "Whoa, Who's This?"   John Ottman 1:38
15. "Harmony Lives"   John Ottman 2:16
16. "Doggie Treat / First Kill"   John Ottman 2:09
17. "Going Home"   John Ottman 1:47
18. "Harmony Sees a Clue"   John Ottman 1:24
19. "Harry's Rage"   John Ottman 3:23
20. "Painful Pieces"   John Ottman 1:27
21. "That's the Story"   John Ottman 2:46
22. "Broken"   John Ottman featuring Robert Downey Jr. 5:10
Total length:
54:35[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (15)". British Board of Film Classification. June 20, 2005. Retrieved May 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang". Festival Cannes. Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  4. ^ Shane Black, Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang audio commentary. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang DVD: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. 
  5. ^ a b c Svetkey , Benjamin. "'Lethal Weapon' Wunderkind (and Former Party Boy) Shane Black Is Back ... and Still Looking for Action". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 13, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Why Shane Black's The Nice Guys Was 15 Years in the Making
  7. ^ a b King of the spec scripts rises once again
  8. ^ a b ‘Kiss’ and tell time
  9. ^ back in onscreen action
  10. ^ Shane Black on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  11. ^ Knoxville's next
  12. ^ Q&A: Robert Downey Jr.
  13. ^ a b INTERVIEW: SHANE BLACK (KISS KISS, BANG BANG)
  14. ^ Val Kilmer interview
  15. ^ Kiss Kiss Bang Bang production notes
  16. ^ Comfy fest nest
  17. ^ "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) - Weekend Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 15, 2006. 
  18. ^ Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) Rotten Tomatoes
  19. ^ "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang". Metacritic. 
  20. ^ Mike Russell. "Don't miss the 'Kiss'". OregonLive.com. Retrieved January 27, 2006. 
  21. ^ Jeff Otto. "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang Review". IGN. Retrieved January 27, 2006. 
  22. ^ Roger Ebert (20 October 2005). "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang". 
  23. ^ Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Soundtrack AllMusic. Retrieved February 27, 2014

External links[edit]