Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sexy Beast (2000)

British Gangster Movie #1

Back in 2011, I reviewed several gangster-themed movies, but I made a point of not watching my copy of The Hit. For years, I wanted to do a tribute to British gangster films, but I never actually got around to it until now.

Oh – considering the theme, take a wild guess which movie I'm going to review this Friday...

Synopsis: Life in an idyllic Spanish villa is upset by the sudden appearance of a violent, venom-spewing thug who strangely looks a bit like Gandhi.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “When sociopathic gangster Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) tries to recruit ex-partner in crime (Ray Winstone) for a high-stakes heist back in London, the retired criminal refuses, favouring the legit life after serving a prison term But Logan won’t take no for an answer.”

What Did I Learn?: England is a “grey, grimy, sooty...shithole” where everyone is worried and miserable.

You Might Like This Movie If: Just like Don Logan you can't take “no” for an answer.

Really?: 1) So wait – it’s never made entirely clear if Teddy Bast (Ian McShane) is straight, gay, or bisexual, but it’s hard to believe he would allow himself to be um - *used* - just to get a look at the bank security system. 2) Couldn’t Gal have simply told Don that he has some health issues? 3) Hmm... considering Gal’s life depends on successfully hookwinking Teddy when he gets to London, couldn’t he have come up with a more convincing story than the one he gives (Don phoned him from Heathrow)?

Rating: Sexy Beast drags a little in its last 20 minutes (amazingly, the actual heist is more of an afterthought), but it’s otherwise a crackling character-driven suspense film, and Kingsley delivers a magnificent performance as the world’s worst houseguest. 8/10 stars.

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