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Being Nice Only Gets You So Far

The year is 1977. Los Angeles is home to private investigator Holland March, who is recruited to track down a girl deemed to be associated with a famous, recently deceased porn star. His investigations lead him to encounter the somewhat unconventional enforcer Jackson Healy, who also happens to be linked to the missing girl. Thrown together, the two detectives further encounter associations of conspiracy which lead them on a wild goose chase of deception, proving that it’s not always easy being one of the nice guys.

We follow this couple of wise-cracking, action loving investigators played by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. A appealing and effortless dialogue of voice-overs accompanies the character build, helping introduce some engrossing scenarios. Noir mystery undertones are brought to life brilliantly with a combination of American sleaze and brash personas. This is a feature that brings forward an appealing aura that prevails throughout.

Visually, the environment is very appealing, with the period setting shining through the plot and the characteristics of the protagonists. This, revolving around a bold story of a dead porn star and missing young girl, does work well together, with quirky hurdles that allow necessary progress for the plot. In amongst the exciting hubbub of the film industry, there is a combination of glamorous parties and commercialisation of sex, all of which adds more depth, thus bringing the audience deeper into the mystery.


Credit to Ryan Gosling, his performance, demonstrating his chameleon capabilities to apply both comedy and action to a role, is commendable. Likewise, the portrayal by Russell Crowe deems an impressive display of diverse traits that may not be evident in some of his previous castings. Together, the two money driven characters compliment each other brilliantly, both reflecting each others wit fluidly. With different personalities, the unlikely pairing provokes a humorous display of contrast.

Firstly, the different personas are established through the introduction of a layabout, single father, stumbling from drink to cigarette to get through his day. In contrast, he then encounters an up front confrontation from a brash, unattached man with secrets of his own. The two compliment each other on screen brilliantly, with back and forth interaction. It’s evident why the dynamic alliance between these two is the prominent appeal to the feature and its success in the eyes of audiences.

The slapstick comedic approaches work hand in hand with the aggressive actions of both protagonists. An appealing level of mystery is demonstrated, coupled with the thrill of investigation and formation of new understanding towards the case. Possibly not the most intense or exciting thriller, but the existence of humour allows this feature to stand out as a strong piece of entertainment.

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