Mr. Nice (2011)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans) was a young Welshman studying at Oxford when he discovered there was something unusual about his dorm room -- it had a secret passageway that led to a storage space used by one of the school's top marijuana dealers. Marks and the dealer struck up a friendship as he became an enthusiastic customer, and a few years later, when plans to bring a large cache of hashish into England via Germany went haywire, Marks stepped in to help and was introduced to a circle of big … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Bernard Rose
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 11, 2011
Sťville Pictures - Official Site


as Howard Marks

as Jim McCann

as Ernie Combs

as Hamilton McMillan

as Craig Lovato

as Graham Plinston

as Saleem Malik

as Patrick Lane

as Judy Marks

as Edna Marks

as Dennis Marks

as Alan Marcuson

as Patti Hayes
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Mr. Nice

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (14)

Though the film takes a while to cast its spell, writer-director-cinematographer Bernard Rose's close observation of Marks and those around him becomes increasingly involving and allows Rose to comment on the widespread failure of the war on drugs.

Full Review… | September 11, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The writer-director tells the story with verve and small-budget ingenuity.

Full Review… | September 9, 2011
Washington Post
Top Critic

Ifans looks 20 years too old for the part, and the problem with the movie is it seems so desperate to be made that it barely cares that he spends half of his time miscast.

Full Review… | September 8, 2011
Boston Globe
Top Critic

[Ifans] captures the character's charisma and cool, and it's fun to ride shotgun with him. But the script isn't pointed enough to drill beneath the surface.

Full Review… | July 29, 2011
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Effortlessly captures the looks, attitudes and the various mentalities of the period from the late 1960s and early 1970s, through the transition from the hippie era into the Studio 54 days, followed by the Just-Say-No retrenchment of the 1980s.

Full Review… | June 30, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Writer-director Bernard Rose lets the picture bop along a little too loosely, but the vibes are good.

Full Review… | June 15, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mr. Nice

Howard Marks: A dealer is really just someone who buys more dope than he can smoke. And I have to say, I'm ashamed, I tried to smoke it all. There was just too fuckin' much of it.

"Most Wanted. Most Wasted."

Mr. Nice is a movie I thoroughly enjoyed, and more than anything, it really made me want to read Howard Marks' book. There's a few annoyances throughout and from what I've read, it isn't nearly as good as the book. On a subjective level though, I really loved it. This is material that is worth showing. It's fun to watch, it's insightful(probably not as much as the book I would imagine), but more than anything I loved Rhys Ifans and Chloe Savigny.†

Mr. Nice is the life story of Howard Marks. Marks learned about marijuana from a guy while attending and graduating from Oxford. After graduating, he takes a teaching position that isn't getting him much money. So when that guy who introduced him to the magical plant gets busted, he turns the business over to Marks. Marks takes over and the business flourishes. The title, Mr. Nice, is based on one of Marks' aliases and I would be led to believe it is why there's a popular and powerful strain of marijuana called just that, Mr. Nice.†

A lot of the criticism for the film seems to be from those who have read the book and I can't really deny that the film is a bad adaption because I haven't read the book. I will now, but as of seeing the movie, I haven't. So luckily I watched this before because based on those opinions, I wouldn't have cared for it nearly as much.

If you're at all interested in drug smuggling or maybe just the man himself, give this film a look. I loved the style, loved the dialogue, loved the cast, and loved the source material. Howard Marks was an extraordinary man and his life makes for an extraordinary story.†

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

From what I gather, this film doesn't come close to achieving what a faithful adaptation should. I've not read the book but I've heard good things but I'm very familiar with

Howard Marks's story, manner and humour. He's quite a cool character in my book and I thought Rhys Ifans did him justice. I enjoyed the film although I'm a little frustrated with myself that I didn't read the book first. I did get the impression that a lot was skipped over though, years passed without mention etc but getting a film adaptation of someones life is always a struggle, for what its worth I though the film was entertaining and enjoyable with a great cast.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

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

Based on the hugely successful autobiography of the same name, Mr. Nice tells the incredible story of the life of Howard Marks, "the world's most sophisticated drug smuggler."

Rhys Ifans plays Howard Marks in a movie based around the Welsh drug dealer's biography. We go from Marks' entry to Oxford (where he first discovered the delights of smoking dope) to his brief brush with conventionality, followed by his first occasion of importing a Mercedes full of cannabis, his association with IRA gunman and drug importer Jim McCann (David Thewlis), and assorted escapades, brushes with the law, assumed identities and so on. Throughout all this he continues to father additional children with long suffering partner/wife Judy (Chloe Sevigny), and he appears to be a good father, loving and loved.

What to make of this? Well, it always holds the interest, it is well acted by all involved (albeit Sevigny's role is pretty thankless), and much of it has a reasonable sense of period (in particular, Ifans is inserted into period newsreel footage with mixed results), with some good use of period music (John Lennon's "God" is particularly well placed). It is sometimes amusing, seldom gripping, and be non-judgemental - Marks' exploits are presented to us and we are left to come to our own conclusions as to how right or wrong he was.

The illegality of his actions is not condemned: however, although there are several points where one gets the feeling that the filmmakers' sympathies lie with the legalising marijuana lobby, it is difficult not to take on board the drastic consequences for Marks and his family when he is apprehended and the excuses no longer work. I ended up being as morally compromised as the movie - it was a worthwhile exercise to make the film, I think, but I am no wiser as to where Marks would stand if we were all to line up and be judged. And maybe that is how it should be.

Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

Mr. Nice Quotes

– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

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