Dear Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,
It is rare to find a movie that so thoroughly integrates the personality of its protagonist in its own story telling. Often times the pace and editing of a film is not exactly at odds with its character, but is at the least apathetic to him or her. Character stories and actions are made at the leisure of the film’s pacing, and the characters themselves seem to dictate none of the motions of the narrative. This near universal truth extends even to those films that are ostensibly told by a narrator.
So it was a great pleasure to find, as I sat down to watch you, that I found that you bucked this trend of narrator disinterest. Harry Lockhart, your protagonist and narrator, has the kind of quick witted, charismatic delivery that true storytellers have, but also fails (both in narrative and in narration) to grasp some of the finer points of speach and storytelling. He has to double back on himself, apologize constantly, and clarify points that he may have accidently skipped over previously. It was fun, then, to watch as your scenes were influenced and commented upon by this energetic and enthusiastic narrator. Harry as a narrator is a lot like Harry as a character. He talks a bit too much, turns his introversion into exposition, and he is critical to the point of expressing his own displeasure with his shoddy narration. Luckily, his personality is magnetic enough to make up for much of his faults.
Your story is a refreshing blend of old tropes and modern twists. Harry Lockhart is a two bit thief and former magician. During a routine B&E at a toy store his partner is killed. When Harry takes refuge in what he can only assume is a night club, he finds that the long line of people outside the door were actually actors, and he has stumbled into an open casting session for a movie. Luckily, due to similarities between his current situation and the audition scene, Harry lands the part and is whisked off to L.A. to get some lessons in being a private eye in preparation for his part.
This setup is indicitive of your self-reflexive yet playful nature. Often times, in films, a character will have a chance encounter that will lead him into a plot that makes up ‘the movie.’ Your character, on the other hand, has a chance encounter that leads him into the movies. There, he is tutored under Gay Perry, one of the most entertaining characters in recent movies. A gay private eye with a wicked sense of wit and humor, Gay Perry is Harry’s perfect foil – whereas Harry is snide, articulate and full of bluster but unable to back it up, Perry is understated but capable.
Harry as a narrator is a lot like Harry as a character. He talks a bit too much, turns his introversion into exposition, and he is critical to the point of expressing his own displeasure with his shoddy narration. Luckily, his personality is magnetic enough to make up for much of his faults.
You, on the other hand have no faults that I can see. Your characters are your greatest strength, and your plot is twisty enough to keep us interested without being impenetrable. You have darkness that is offset by the reactions of your characters and their arguments over the use of the words “bad” and “badly.” On the few occasions you strive for honesty and ernestness, you luckily have the chops to back it up.
In terms of pure fun, you are one of the best movies I can think of. You’re on par with In Bruges when it comes to character driven black comedy with endless replay value.
With boundless affection,
Brian J. Roan