The film was pretty good. Similar to such dark/funny/satirical thrillers as Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and the The Long Kiss Goodnight (that last by the same director). That means it's for older folks. That means you get:
- knowing refences to Raymond Chandler and Hollywood cliches
- good looking non-youthful characters and actors
- mucking about with gender roles
- intelligent women and a lead man who is dumb but fetching
- breaking down the fourth wall, to talk to the audience
- fairly funny jokes
- real nastiness (in this case child abuse, torture and suicide - be warned)
The big daddy of such films is of course Pulp Fiction. But let's not cry for the moon, the beta-set are all pretty good, and this is pretty good.
I said that the poster for 'Stealth' represented the Hollywood ideal - a white hetero man supported by a white hetero woman and a man from some minority group. We have that here. Robert Downey jnr is a white heterosexual hero, Michelle Monaghan the woman, Val Kilmer the gay supporting role. But - it's OK because it's Ironic. No, actually it really is.
They do try to work some stuff on the cliche. Kilmer is butch to all heck, closed up, competent and connected, while Downey is loose, feminine, big-eyed, tearful and emotional. Secondly, they do that thing like in 'Scream' ('If this was a film there'd be a scene next where we are tortured with electric wires attached to our genitals', 'Ha ha, bet that doesn't happen') and even 'Kentucky Fried Movie' ('Don't you hate it in films where they resurrect someone you wish hadn't died?' and you can see Abraham Lincoln in the background).
The kiss wasn't sexy though. Shame! Kilmer just didn't get into it, whereas Downey, who probably could have got into it, was instructed by the script to go 'er, yuck' and wipe his mouth after. Puh-lease. I've never seen a man do that.
ETA - there ought to be a name for this sub-genre other than 'films like pulp fiction only not quite as genius'