The Nice Guys is the new hit film from writer and director Shane Black. In The Nice Guys, Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe play a pair of down and dirty detectives working the beat in the late 70s Hollywood. When an adult film star dies and is seen again days later by her elderly aunt, the two find themselves wrapped up in a deadly caper that leads all the way up to the top tiers of government conspiracy. It’s a great plot that unravels well and lends itself to let our main characters have plenty of fun all the while being in extreme danger.
The plot of The Nice Guys is one of the best post-70s detective era tales to come out of Hollywood in a long time right alongside Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and the Coen Brothers classic The Big Lebowski. What this film shares equally with both those movies is its fantastic soundtrack and score. The soundtrack for The Nice Guys plays like a mixtape of the best 70s funk music followed up by a handful of miscellaneous tracks that defined the era.
Songs like Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone by The Temptations, Get Down On It by Kool & The Gang, September by Earth, Wind & Fire and Love and Happiness by Al Green are just a sample of the excellent tracks Shane Black hand picked with the help of peer and collaborator Joel Silver. This album is easily one of the best soundtracks of the year so far, and it makes for an awesome party record as well.
The score for the film equally notable as well. Composers John Ottman and David Buckley have made a fantastic arrangement of orchestral and funk driven music that can easily be compared to some of the best scores of the 70s. This is an album for diehard fans of Lalo Schifrin’s work from the Dirty Harry, Bullitt and Mission Impossible soundtracks and fans of instrumental funk and jazz music.
Here the two are in top form crafting a vibrant and high energy composition that begins with a solid and catchy theme and blends into multiple variations that all seem culled from the same era. It makes for a great blend of influences that come together to fit perfectly with the tone of the film. Each piece of the score is a full-bodied mix of funk infused rock and jazz that swings from fast paced action to slow and contemplative moods to match the film’s scenes. Along with very theatrical string movements that grab the listener’s attention, explosive instruments lead into themes that fit any high-speed chase scene perfectly.
The Nice Guys is action packed comedy gold and for any fan of the genre, it’s one of the best there is. The 70s detective vibe of the soundtrack and score that set the tone are brilliantly matched to Shane Black’s setting and direction. While the entire score makes for an excellent listen start to finish, some of the best tracks are easily the Theme from The Nice Guys, Disco Party Fight, Meeting John Boy, It’s Not a Flight and Car Show Shoot Out. Every way to experience this new and original film is a time well spent. The Nice Guys is great to watch, great to listen to and an all around good time for fans of Shane Black and 70s movies alike. It’s great stuff.
Check out our coverage of Shane Black’s The Nice Guys below. It’s a must see.