Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Rhys Ifans
Chlöe Sevigny
David Thewlis
Crispin Glover
Christian McKay
Omid Djalili
Luis Tosar.
Directors
Bernard Rose.
Screenwriters
Bernard Rose.
Running Time
121 minutes

LATEST DVD REVIEWS
Ghost In The Shell
4 Star Empire Rating
Child's Play
3 Star Empire Rating
Westworld
4 Star Empire Rating
Goldfinger
5 Star Empire Rating
Electra Glide In Blue
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Goldfinger
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Ipcress File, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Jules Et Jim
5 Star Empire Rating
Nashville
5 Star Empire Rating

Mr. Nice
Romancing the stoned


submit to reddit


Plot
The story of Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans), the Oxford graduate who discovered an uncanny talent for cannabis-trafficking, and who, at his peak during the ’70s, claims to have been embroiled in dealings with the IRA and MI6, while reportedly in control of ten per cent of the world’s hashish market.


Review
Mr. Nice
Browse more images »
If there were an annual prize for best biopic casting, then this year’s should surely be snaffled by Rhys Ifans as dope smuggler extraordinaire Howard Marks. It’s not just the loose physical resemblance and shared provenance; Ifans’ own frothy blend of the shambolic and charismatic prove a perfect match for Marks’ own, his clear, intelligent eyes deceptively framed by shaggy features. It should come as no surprise that Ifans is a long-time fan of Marks, nor that the two are now firm friends. And, with Bernard Rose’s movie respectfully close to Marks’ autobiography of the same title, a small phenomenon upon its publication 14 years ago, it should also come as no surprise that Mr. Nice is a considerably forgiving and unquestioning portrayal of the former cannabis smuggler.

Which isn’t to suggest the man deserves a character assassination. Indeed, both the movie and he himself are quite right to question whether his crimes — which he eventually served time for — actually really hurt anybody (beyond encouraging them to mix tobacco with his products), and those expecting some kind of hippie polemic should note that the film stops short of becoming a platform for Marks’ understandable belief that cannabis should be legalised. But the fact is, you are watching Marks’ story as told by Marks — very deliberately so, given the framing device is Marks’ own post-publication one-man show; “Are there any undercover policemen in the audience?” goes the opening schtick.

As with any rise/fall/recovery story, the biopic beats are deeply familiar, right down to the obligatory story thread which involves Marks’ wife Judy (an oddly misplaced Chlöe Sevigny, in a perpetual battle with her English accent) at first enjoying the fruits of her husband’s shady labours, then suffering as he gets in too deep.

Likely sensing this, director Rose employs numerous stylistic tricks. The film opens in black and white, revealing naive-but-sharp schoolboy Marks still entangled in his poor, Glamorgan roots. Then, whaddaya know,
as he tries his first blot of LSD at Oxford, the world unfurls into full colour. Obvious, yes, but it works well — as does Rose’s occasional mixing-in of stock footage. Even so, once you’ve dragged it down to the roach, Mr. Nice does remain a conventional crime biopic — although thankfully, we are at least spared an OD sequence.


Extras

Mr. Nice Mr. Nice
Released: 31 January 2011
Director and Marks commentaries, deleted scenes, interviews and more.


Verdict
A solid, often entertaining life-of-crimer which benefits from some stylistic touches and a faithful, convincing central performance.


Reviewed by Dan Jolin

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Mr. Nice
Empire Star Rating

Nice as in the place not my face

It's a good film, but it gets a bit bogged down in layering out the whole story of how he became a drug dealer, mixed in different circles and clashed with the law. Great performance by Rhys Ifans, he captures Howard Marks's blithe character. There are humourous bits, but they are few and far between as the plot's mainly concerned with connecting the dots and it's a bit of a travelogue. That said, he obviously led a fascinating life and he does meet a few interesting and colourful characters (D... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 22:57, 04 January 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Naughty......but Nice !!!!......

When I get back home, I'll buy the DVD for this film. Has anyone else here seen it? Rhys Ifans looks on top form. ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 20:55, 06 August 2011 | Report This Post


Naughty......but Nice !!!!......

A very accurate review from Empire I thought. Rhys Ifans is excellent as Howard Marks here, and the story itself is quite entertaining overall, and well worth a visit to the Cinema to see it...... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by n13roy at 18:24, 13 October 2010 | Report This Post


What An Excellent Story

Rhys was born for this role and he nails it coming across as an very intelligent guy and the film is great and it is a n excellent story that you can really get sucked into. Excellent ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 17:31, 09 October 2010 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

The Empire Podcast #128: Interviews With Sir Roger Moore And George MacKay
Plus we say goodbye to Richard Kiel and the British Expendables are assembled...

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Classic Feature: Gods Among Us - Paul Newman
A cat so cool he makes Steve McQueen look geeky.

The Boxtrolls Interviews: The Cast And Crew On Laika's Latest
Sir Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning and more talk stop-motion

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)