Christmas time, it’s about love, togetherness, coming home, family…and guns. My usual collection of Christmas movies all embody these traits and each in their own way. Today we discuss The Long Kiss Goodnight.
The Long Kiss Goodnight concerns a simple housewife who is recovering from amnesia; she remembers nothing beyond the past eight years and is living a good life with her daughter and boyfriend. She has made efforts to find out about her past but at this stage is scraping the bottom of the barrel, down to only the lowest of private investigators. Her world is thrown askew one night as a one eyed wild man attempts to murder her in her own home. She then embarks on a trip of self discovery and slowly begins to learn that her past was once hidden and that she may have been a super spy.
Geena Davis plays the housewife and does so well. She seems right at home as a suburban teacher giving little plausibility that she may be a badass super spy, a point made in the film even. But as the film moves on she gets serious and handles the role well, far better and more believable here than as a pirate in Cutthroat Island, a movie that I hope to never reference again. Alongside her is Samuel L. Jackson as street smart, but decidedly low rent private eye. I’m not going to pull any punches here, this is my favorite Sam Jackson movie. He tackles the role with no small amount of humor and sleazy charm, taking control of the situation only to find his role in life fading as the woman he is protecting becomes more and more dangerous. To make matters even better they are joined for a time by Brian Cox who waltzes onto screen with little effort and nearly steals the show.
The action is energetic and takes place in some great set pieces. The filmmakers took their time setting things up and convey a real sense of setting and style. They even rein in some of the action, keeping things from boiling over, and instead use stylistic measures to get things done. That is not to say this movie doesn’t go to extremes, but I would say that it is as top as you can get without going over it.
The whole film is peppered with humor, some of it very much in your face and others more subtle. It’s a fun blend, and helps give the characters a little extra depth. I wouldn’t say it ranks on my ‘most quotable’ list but it’s defiantly memorable.
Not everything is sunshine and roses, just to be fair. It does feature a small child and she is very annoying. It also contains a few pop culture references, once of which is especially glairing (“He saw something that disturbed him? Me too, it’s called Baywatch Nights, get on with it.”). There is also a few implausible moments and one of the set pieces was trimmed down to the point that it should have been culled completely.
Those are minor complaints however, and do not take away from the fact that this is a fun action film that makes good use of its Christmas time setting. It’s exciting, funny, and sadly often overlooked. It also has one of my favorite endings and so I am going to give The Long Kiss Goodnight a 5/5.