And it works! Maybe not 100%, but enough to see why it got a standing ovation at Cannes.
Robert Downey Jr. plays a petty thief, propelled through unlikely circumstance to the Hollywood scene. To prepare for the part he has landed in, he has to team up with Val Kilmer's gay private detective to learn the ropes. However, what should be a run of the mill surveillance, turns out to be a dramatic dumping of a dead body. From there, the twists and revelations and action come thick and fast, with Downey Jr.'s character landing in deeper trouble as he tries hard to impress his childhood crush, played by Shannyn Sossamon. Alas, the plot is overcomplicated - we had to stop the movie and talk amongst ourselves now and again to put together what was happening - but who cares, when the acting and script are so good.
Shane Black, screenwriter of `Lethal Weapon', `The Last Boy Scout' and the `Long Kiss Goodnight', directs for the first time here - and he does it in the same punchy, funny but dark way he writes in. The format is in a Raymond Chandler like style, except obviously much more self referential. The movie starts off as it means to go on, with Downey Jr. narrating, starting with `Hi, I'll be your narrator this evening..'. Even the titles are original, reminiscent of Saul Bass.
Some people will hate it for being different, dark, and not falling into the normal categories, with difficult dark humour - I loved it for all the same reasons. It's worth a watch to make up your own mind!