Mr. Nice

2010, Biography/Drama, 2h 1m

46 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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Movie Info

Oxford University student Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans) becomes an international drug smuggler with alleged connections to MI6, the IRA and the Mafia.

Cast & Crew

Rhys Ifans
Howard Marks
Andrew Tiernan
Alan Marcuson
Omid Djalili
Saleem Makik
Jack Huston
Graham Plinston
Jamie Harris
Patrick Lane
Bernard Rose
Screenwriter
Paul Brett
Executive Producer
Linda James
Executive Producer
David Nash
Executive Producer
Norman Merry
Executive Producer
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Critic Reviews for Mr. Nice

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (21)

  • 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.

    September 11, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • The writer-director tells the story with verve and small-budget ingenuity.

    September 9, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    September 8, 2011 | Rating: 2/4
  • [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.

    July 29, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    June 30, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Writer-director Bernard Rose lets the picture bop along a little too loosely, but the vibes are good.

    June 15, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • 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.

    September 11, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • The writer-director tells the story with verve and small-budget ingenuity.

    September 9, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    September 8, 2011 | Rating: 2/4
  • [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.

    July 29, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's frequently funny, it's affable and charming in that way all the best British comedies always are and it's a retelling of a story quite remarkable in that someone undertook it and lived to tell the tale.

    May 20, 2021 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Part of the problem with Mr. Nice is that the endless sequences of [Howard] Marks and company moving, packing, hiding or hiding drugs lead to a muddled, disconnected narrative that lacks emotional impact.

    February 27, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mr. Nice

  • Mar 08, 2013
    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 W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 20, 2012
    As Howard Marks(Rhys Ifans) tells his rapt audience, his high intelligence allowed him to not only escape regular school beatings and rugby but also his depressed Welsh village. At Oxford University, he turns on, tunes in, and almost drops out before being given a second chance. After that, he takes up a boring life of near poverty as a teacher with Ilze(Elsa Pataky). But then he gets a fateful phone call from his friend Graham(Jack Huston) from jail in Germany who wants him to do a small favor of driving a drug-filled car back to England. After this successful transit, Howard ponders a better distribution model. Enter James McCann(David Thewlis). "Mr. Nice" gets off to a good start in firmly establishing its protagonist's psychological motivations for actions in his future life.(Whether he confirms to colonial stereotypes or confounds them is a matter for another debate.) Stylistically, the movie seeks to be of the time it is set, first in black and white and then with a healthy amount of rear projection with spotty references that occasionally set the time like Bloody Sunday before going into the future at supersonic speeds on the Concorde as the characters seemingly never age. After all of that, as presented here, Howard Marks does not seem that remarkable for a drug smuggler, making him little deserving of a biopic. And the movie errs by not fully developing the more gonzo elements of the story like the IRA/MI6 connections that involve an atypically unhinged David Thewlis.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2011
    First a little warning: DO NOT WATCH A MOVIE IF YOU READ THE BOOK - YOU'LL BE DISSAPOINTED! Mr. Nice is a film about Howard Marks, a guy who was smart, then became smart ass, and finished as stupid drug smuggler... The screenplay was adapted by director Bernard Rose from Marks' autobiography of the same name. He had interesting life... he was a man who improbably went from dealing a bit of dope at Oxford University to controlling an impressive 10% of the world's hashish trade, before doing time in prison. The real hero in this movie is Rhys Ifans who plays Marks! He looks utterly at ease in a role that provides a happy-go-lucky flipside to the more moving and melancholic slacker-type he embodied in the same year's Greenberg. But, after a while, like the drug whose values Marks extols, Bernard Rose's film just makes you slow paced... and lost in the story which was all over the place! Worth watching to see how easy is to deal drugs... :-)
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 08, 2011
    <i>"43 Aliases. 89 Phone Lines. This is the Story of Howard Marks."</i> 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." <center><font size=+2 face="Century Schoolbook"><b><u>REVIEW</u></b></font></center> 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 v Super Reviewer

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