Mr Nice is a biopic of the life of convicted-drug smuggler Howard Marks (played by Rhys Ifans - Notting Hill
). The film chronicles his origins, education, love-life and, most importantly, how he fell into the life of an importer of illicit substances.
Rhys Ifans was practically born to play this role, the height, the accent and mannerisms are all spot on to Howard Marks (a welshman himself) and many times behind the dark glasses and long hair it's difficult to tell the actor from the man. The story is well directed, giving us enough of Mark's back story to understand his mindset and the choices he makes without getting bogged down in the minute detail. This is a truly picturesque cinematic experience, as we see Howard travel from his hometown in Wales, to his College in Oxford and as far around the world as Afghanistan to source his merchandise. When this is thrown in with IRA contacts and MI6 agents it makes for one extremely interesting tale that, regardless of your stance on drugs, you will end up willing Howard to come up smiling. ChloŽ Sevigny (Barry Munday
) deserves a special mention for her brilliant rendition of Mark's wife and David Thewliss plays the quasi-insane IRA contact Jim McCann with great flair.
Where this film loses a star is making Rhys Ifans play Howard Marks at 17-21 which just looked ridiculous as Rhys Ifans really cannot get away with playing a character that young. What also lets the film down is the awful CGI of 1970's London that Ifans has been superimposed over. Even the grainy 'stock-footage' filter they lay over the top can't disguise how badly the CGI is and this is extremely obvious on Blu-Ray. Still, the desert scenes in Afghanistan are well shot and stunningly crisp so this isn't a problem that persists through the film.
There is a director's commentary and a couple of interviews with the Cast but it's really nothing special.
A really interesting biography of a man that has lived a very interesting - if illegal - life. Certainly one to make you think, recommended!!