Robert Downey Jr. did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Harry Lockhart in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Robert Downey Jr. plays the small time thief who also narrates the film, although he does narrate in a Morgan Freeman fashion, but instead in an entirely self aware fashion. Robert Downey Jr. really makes this movie work through his performance, because he knows exactly how to play the material, particularly the narration. Downey knows how to do self aware well in a way that it only adds humor and an appreciation to the film rather than seeming smug and self indulgent as it easily could have. Downey gets just the right tone for the film with his narration, and makes every line work extremely well.
Outside of the narration Downey again fits the part like a glove. He just knows how to be playful with an incredible charm. He is never cloying in the role instead he is always just very likable. It is so easy to follow Downey through the film as he carries us with him. He has just the right amount of fun in the role to the point that it succeeds in bringing out the comedy, but he never does overdo it either. Downey strikes the perfect chord sin the part, and part of that is his ease with every aspect of the role. Downey not only commands the quick dialogue with the utmost finesse but he just as easily handles the more dramatic moments found in the film as well.
Robert Downey Jr. is probably one of the very best actors when it comes to blending comedy with drama, as he does so brilliantly here. There are sudden moments throughout the film that require some quick heavy lifting from Downey such as when Harry sees a woman murdered and takes revenge in anger. He absolutely sells these scenes completely, bringing in the necessary power to the moments, while never compromising the tone the film has. He keeps it all together marvelously really bringing all of the elements in the film in a terrific fashion as he never loses the humor of the situation or the seriousness of it.
His chemistry with his co-stars is great with both Michelle Monaghan as Harry's childhood friend Harmony, and Val Kilmer as the private detective known as Gay Perry.With Monaghan Downey achieves a nice warmth that works quite well as the two dance around the romance nicely without it every becoming problematic. The two find the sort of style of an old screwball comedy romance that is certainly quite effective. With Kilmer they are just a great comic duo as the two play off each other perfectly from scene to scene. They never overwhelm each other but properly share the spotlight to the point of great entertainment.
This is just a fabulous performance in all regards by
Downey who moves the film along as well as an actor possibly could.
Everything works about his performance, and he completely succeeds in bringing the very best out of the film's most unusual script. In all truth this is just a perfect infusion of character and actor as I really could not imagine anyone else fitting in this role as well as Downey does. He knows exactly how to see the film through from beginning to end, as well as making the film just an entertaining and enjoyable ride throughout.