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A petty thief posing as an actor is brought to Los Angeles for an unlikely audition and finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation along with his high school dream girl and a detective who's been training him for his upcoming role...Written by
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Way better than I expected. Hip and self-aware but tons of fun!
I didn't expect much from this at all, but it turned out pretty good. Think of a Raymond Chandler murder mystery, updated to a sort of modern and enormously... self-aware buddy film-noir. Yes, a buddy-movie, film-noir, murder mystery, crime-thriller, all rolled into one hip modern self-referential update, packed with amusing references to all the clichés of the genres depicted. Before you can even think about the next cliché in the film, it grabs it, makes a mockery of it and proceeds at break-neck pace.
Petty thief Harry Lockhardt (Downey) is a lovable loser who accidentally winds up in the movie business, auditioning for the part of a private detective. Val Kilmer plays the real private eye, Perry Shrike (half the fun is picking the right name!) who has to learn him the trades of the business, but soon they both wind up in a murder mystery with so many twists and turns (and bodies), it'll make your head spin.
Downey and Kilmer seem to have the time of their lives, but not to the viewer's expense. Perhaps a bit too clever for it's own good with so many "clever" plot turns, that I was lost in the end, but perhaps I'm not as clever as I wish to. And I must say, Michelle Monaghan! Wow! She really gave one sexy performance! It derails a bit in the end and goes so wildly over the top with shaggy-dog jokes, ridiculously stupid bad guys and buddy-clichés, it makes Austin Powers look like a straight-faced classic. But as a whole very entertaining, with snappy dialogue, clever writing, and enjoyable performances. Just lots of fun.
Camera Obscura --- 8/10
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