Hollywood's old genres put on new tricks

5th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

DEAUVILLE, France, Sept 4 (AFP) - Hollywood may often mix up homage with repetition, but occasionally it knows how to successfully give a new approach to an old genre, as it showed Sunday at a French festival of American film.

DEAUVILLE, France, Sept 4 (AFP) - Hollywood may often mix up homage with repetition, but occasionally it knows how to successfully give a new approach to an old genre, as it showed Sunday at a French festival of American film.

'Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang', a sharp neo-noir thriller-comedy helmed by first-time director Shane Black, impressed critics at the Deauville festival being held in this Normandy seaside town.

Starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, the movie wowed audiences on the third day of the 10-day event, largely because of its sassy, contemporary treatment of that most quintessential of US cinematic categories: the detective movie.

Black, Downey, Kilmer and the lead actress, Michelle Monaghan, were in equally jokey form as they presented the film to journalists, riding high on the enthusiastic reviews they've received ever since it first premiered at the Cannes film festival in May.

Downey, who plays a petty crook sucked into an LA murder mystery while inadvertently finding himself part of a Hollywood production, said the movie worked because of the on-screen rapport between him and Kilmer, who plays a gay detective.

"If he and I didn't have a good rapport, the movie would suck -- and we so didn't want this movie to suck," Downey said.

Kilmer, hamming it up next to him by pretending to be heartbroken at Downey's recent real-life marriage to a woman film producer, said with a smile: "I was surprised at how quickly I adapted to my role."

Black, who wrote the 'Lethal Weapon' series, said the film's satirical take on vapid Hollywood parties and the movie business was part of a wider knock of Los Angeles.

"It's like living next to a train wreck," Black said of the city he has lived in for the past two decades. He added with the dose of sarcasm that ran through his film: "You should all come to visit, it's a really great place."

The title of the movie comes from an obscure reference to James Bond, whose series of adventures pops up in 'Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang' in disguised form, as a popular line of detective fiction, Black said.

That cinematic nod to the British secret agent and the fast, snappy humour underlying the movie resembled another movie, 'The Matador', which opened the Deauville festival Friday.

'The Matador' -- which stars ex-James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan -- tells a tale of a drunken, cynical hit-man who sets about making a timid businessman his sole friend, even as his career slips into dangerous failure.

Both it and 'Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang' headlined the non-competition section of the festival, which will present screenings of other upcoming big Hollywood releases, among them 'Cinderella Man' starring Russell Crowe, 'Broken Flowers' with Bill Murray, and Tim Burton's animated feature 'The Corpse Bride'.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Living in France

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