Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a 2005 crime/black comedy film, which engages many conventions of the classic film noir genre in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. It is based, in part, on the novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them by Brett Halliday. The screenplay was written by Shane Black who also directed the film. It was produced by Joel Silver, Carrie Morrow, Susan Levin and Steve Richards. The cast includes Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan. The title is a reference to Pauline Kael's 1968 book, which in turn was named after a translation of an Italian poster of a James Bond movie, which she called "perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of the movies."
It was filmed in Los Angeles between February 24 and May 3, 2004. After debuting at the Cannes Film Festival in France on May 14, it received a limited release in cinemas in late October and early November 2005. It was the first film produced by Public Media Works, a production company founded by Corbin Bernsen.
The movie's closing credits features the song "Broken" written by Downey and Mark Hudson and performed by Downey.
The film is narrated by a small-time criminal, Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.). He is self-aware and talks to the audience at various times throughout the movie. (See also the theatre concept of the fourth wall and metafiction.)
Running from police after a botched robbery, Harry evades the cops by running into a movie audition for a hardboiled film and, ironically, impresses the producers with his recollection of the late 'hit' having gone awry and resulting in the death of his accomplice (which they mistake for rehearsing material). He is then brought to Hollywood, where he's introduced to homosexual private investigator "Gay" Perry van Shrike (Val Kilmer), enlisted to help Harry prepare for his role in the movie.
Harry is introduced to Hollywood parties and encounters his dream-girl, Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan), a girl Harry has known since childhood. The two childhood friends leave for Harry's apartment, but budding romance is squelched when Harry proceeds to drunkenly have sex with Harmony's friend.
Following around Perry at his job, Harry stumbles upon evidence of a complicated murder mystery eerily similar to the detective stories that Harry and Harmony grew up reading. The three team up to solve the mystery and encounter a series of seemingly nonsensical problems.
- Robert Downey Jr. as Harry Lockhart
- Val Kilmer as "Gay" Perry van Shrike
- Michelle Monaghan as Harmony Faith Lane
- Corbin Bernsen as Harlan Dexter
- Dash Mihok as Mr. Frying Pan
- Larry Miller as Dabney Shaw
- Rockmond Dunbar as Mr. Fire
- Shannyn Sossamon as Pink Hair Girl
- Angela Lindvall as Flicka