Starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, Beau Knapp, Matt Bomer, Yaya DaCosta & Kim Basinger

Directed by Shane Black

So, what happens next? That’s it? You mean to say that a great film won’t have a sequel? Potentially one and done? A beginning, a middle and an end in the space of two hours, or it’s free? And all quality and respectability won’t be flogged in the name of monetary gain? Well, what do you know…

Apologies for all the questions. Conditions following the end credits of The Nice Guys had me astounded. It seemed forgone that a hastily produced continuation was an eventuality. Once upon a time film companies risked bouncing from one unrelated film to the next, hoping for their cash cow to come mooing. But in recent years the powers that be have hedged their bets by banking upon a singular conceivable money-maker and candidly sucking it dry. In doing so they stumbled upon their definition of the word ‘franchise’. My dictionary says differently but to them the word delineates that anything which can make money can make a sequel. Quality notwithstanding.

It’s a cogent indicator of how large a part the almighty dollar plays in the film industry. By the time pre-production settles in most film-makers already have their trilogy (and legacyquel in thirty years) prepped and ready. The thought to let the dust settle before the horse-whipping commences never crosses their minds. If you partake in casual reading, you’ll hear murmurs of a second installment to The Nice Guys. But writer and director Shane Black is one of a rare breed in Hollywood. And for a film like The Nice Guys it just doesn’t seem necessary. Then again that factor hasn’t ever come into play before.

Furthermore, it’s easy to look past the fact that The Nice Guys hasn’t performed solidly at the box-office. That contrasts with the Hollywood definition of franchise, so the discussion may be a moot point. But let’s not go there. Cash money or not, The Nice Guys possess all the necessary traits of a fun, interesting and entertaining film. All of the writing, direction and performances are a welcome interlude to the familiars that inhabit the saturated market.

Franchising a film can be a degrading act. Not just to the film itself but the industry and the theatre-going public. The scope and broad selection of genre’s once available has been whittled down to a reflective few that are proven to line pockets. It leaves us with superheroes, young adult novel adaptations and legacyquels. These are all operable, but sometimes what’s on offer is not what scratches your itch. It’s why piracy the DVD market has endured all these years. When the cinemas offer not which you crave, you can always find it elsewhere. On rare occasions, you can venture forth and discover The Nice Guys.

MRD 7 of 10