Mr. Nice

June 3, 2011 0 By Fans
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Still of Chloë Sevigny and Rhys Ifans in Mr. NiceStill of Rhys Ifans in Mr. NiceMr. NiceStill of David Thewlis and Rhys Ifans in Mr. NiceStill of Rhys Ifans in Mr. NiceRhys Ifans at event of Mr. Nice


The life story of Howard Marks, an elite British drug smuggler.

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 6.3/10 (2,407 voted)

Critic's Score: 60/100

Bernard Rose

Stars: Rhys Ifans, Chloë Sevigny, David Thewlis

The life story of Howard Marks, an elite British drug smuggler.

Writers: Bernard Rose, Howard Marks


Rhys Ifans

Howard Marks

Chloë Sevigny

Judy Marks

David Thewlis

Jim McCann

Luis Tosar

Craig Lovato

Crispin Glover

Ernie Combs

Omid Djalili

Saleem Malik

Christian McKay

Hamilton McMillan

Elsa Pataky

Ilze Kadegis

Jack Huston

Graham Plinston

Jamie Harris

Patrick Lane

Sara Sugarman

Edna Marks

William Thomas

Dennis Marks

Andrew Tiernan

Alan Marcuson

Kinsey Packard

Patti Hayes

Ania Sowinski


43 Aliases. 89 Phone Lines. This is the Story of Howard Marks.

Release Date: 3 June 2011

Filming Locations: Benidorm, Alicante, Comunidad Valenciana, Spain

Gross: £528,534
(17 October 2010)

Technical Specs



When Howard visits the airport of Shanon for the first time an ATC radar appears on the screen for couple of seconds. It is most likely a Marconi PSR system co-mounted with a MSSR radar which is too modern for the late 70s or early 80s.

User Review

To laugh. To cry. To care . . .

Rating: 8/10

I hadn't read much about the film before seeing it. Afterwards, I'd say
it is one part sexy, stoned, witty fun. One part light-hearted crime
caper (almost, but not quite, getting too repetitive). And one part
'serious issues.' The film is very loosely inspired by the life of
Howard Marks.

Part One. Howard (Rhys Ifans) goes from a tiny school in Wales to
become a successful Oxford graduate, consuming large amounts of
marijuana on the way (plus a tiny bit of LSD, probably a lot of sex,
and a small amount of alcohol). After Oxford, he gives up drugs to
become a teacher. But when a pal is stranded trying to bring a car full
of resin home, he kindly steps in and finds it rather lucrative. The
difference between someone who smokes and someone he deals is, as he
puts it, the first smokes all they have; whereas the second has more
than they can humanly smoke. He's drawn into the Secret Service in
passing, who like his ability to move between borders and attract

I found Part One very funny. I have a slight problem with Rhys Ifans
looking the same age at the beginning of the film as he does many years
later, and after a fairly long stretch in prison. But it didn't
distract me from enjoying it. His Welsh humour finds its mark, the
comedic editing and timing is flawless, and for anyone over a certain
age it has elements of a trip down memory lane. When David Thewlis
chimes in (convincingly) as an IRA leader, Jim McCann, offering to
supply planes to ferry the stuff over, heavyweight Irish hilarity meets
Welsh wit. The head-on result is riotous, and yet never predictable or
stilted. Add to that, my favourite fall-in-love-with-the-bad-guy
actress, Ms Chloë Sevigny, and I am in for the ride.

Part Two consists of several cat-and-mouse chases as they evade
capture. I did wonder if they were going to keep it up till the end of
the movie, but it gives me a chance to look out for a tiny cameo by
king-of-the bad-boy directors himself, Mr Ken Russell. (Look carefully
or you will miss him – in the background at one of the passport check

Part Three is when we start to see what the movie's serious
undercurrent is, and it accordingly leaps in my estimation. Remember
Steven Soderbergh's film, Traffic? If you came out of that thinking
every sensible, well-supported argument on legalising marijuana had
been made – and still there was no change in government policy – it's
time to realise that rational argument is not going to change articles
of faith. Can humour help? Mr Nice doesn't make moral judgements. But
the natural facts speak for themselves. The main character and his
associates never use hard drugs (stated emphatically). There are no
perceptible harmful effects (other than Howard and friends enjoying
what they do). There are considerable beneficial effects. Especially
notable is the scene where a man discovers his partner being
unfaithful. We expect violence. If they had been drinking alcohol – a
drug with far more proved harmful effects – violence would almost
inevitably followed. Instead, they get momentarily outraged: then share
a joint. From my limited student experience of the dope-smoking 'scene'
many years ago, this is an entirely plausible reaction. The association
with 'organised crime' (here, the IRA in the form Jim McCann) is
clearly a result of anti-drugs legislation, not the other way around.
The misery inflicted is the emphatically the result of anti-drugs
legislation, not the use of the drug (Sevigny especially comes into her
element with some emotionally moving end-scenes. Yes, I did shed a
tear. And Sevigny managed a very nice English accent to boot).

The filmmakers must have wondered if smoking marijuana would be
decriminalised before Mr Nice was released – but the UK government, in
one of the many pre-election scandals, ignored the advice of its own
experts and continued to include hash in the 'war on drugs.' As
Soderbergh said years ago, "We can't have a frank discussion with our
policymakers – if you're in the government or in law enforcement you
cannot acknowledge that drugs are anything but inherently evil and
morally wrong." Bottom line: there is too much money and jobs tied up
in 'drugs enforcement' to legalise them. But I should stress that this
is my 'reading' of the film. Someone opposed to decriminalisation might
reach an entirely different conclusion, and from watching the very same

On the downside, two hours of largely hash-based comedy could be very
wearisome for anyone that hasn't had at least passing familiarity with
the stuff. Other complaints might include Rhys Ifans not seeing him get
his shirt off often enough (though I lost count of the number of times
he did). Or whether Ms Sevigny used a stand-in for the brief times her
shirt was off. On the plus side, it made me proud that Britain could
turn out solid, constructive comedy. Rather than kitchen-sink drama
based (as Ken Russell might say) on 'football in the Midlands.'
Sometimes laughter, well done, can maybe reach places that common sense
alone cannot reach.