The True Story of Howard Marks.
Running Time: 121 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18
Country: United Kingdom
Until the release of Mr. Nice, never has a drugdealer been treated with such loving tenderness than Howard Marks is over this two hour love-in. Howard Marks comes out of the film with his reputation hugely enhanced as he is treated so respectfully that you would happily invite him round to your Mum’s house for tea and biscuits. Some may even think that Howard Marks makes sure the director Bernard Rose has a constant supply of the finest Afghan Hashish to keep him sweet.
Mr. Nice follows Howard Marks (Ifans) as he is transformed from a clever boy living in the Welsh Valleys to an international drug kingpin. Along the way he falls in love with Judy (Sevigny), goes into business with an unhinged member of the Provisional IRA (Thewlis) and visits the Taliban with an Arabian supplier (rent-an-Arab Djali). As his notoriety grows he is increasingly hounded by the British Police, FBI, DEA, Customs and Excise, Interpol and anyone else you can think of.
Nothing drastically new happens here, there are the usual arcs of the drug lord – the beginning, the high point and the downward spiral – and the usual drug taking montages, close ups of people smoking and endless scenes of partying. Mr. Nice is done a little more lightheartedly than the usual dark American or Mockney ilk with most of the comedic moments provided by David Thewlis’ rogue Irish ‘revolutionary’ and the mood is always lightened by the melodic Welsh accent of Ifans. A nice touch is the use of the characters being interposed on top of grainy archive footage which is a cheap and lazy but novel idea to add a retro feel to scenes.
Rose’s druglord biopic has a terrific story with some memorable and likeable characters which ultimately makes it very watchable and the two hour runtime flies by. Not bad for a throwaway one-watch.
It's Got: Forty-two year old Rhys Ifans cringingly playing an eighteen year old, a close up of David Thewlis' penis, an interesting story
It Needs: To be a bit grittier and a bit deeper.
This British druglord biopic gives Howard Marks the complete luvvy-duvvy treatment and offers absolutely nothing new but Mr. Nice has an interesting enough story to entertain throughout.