Directed by Jonathan Glazer.
Written by Louis Mellis and David Scinto.
Starring Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley.
Release Year: 2000
Review Date: 6/24/01
"Tomb Raider" didn't deliver the goods for
me, but "Sexy Beast" was just the opposite.
This one is not exactly mass market; it is
only showing at two theaters in DC, but if you live here or any
other big city, check this one out ASAP. Not quite as good as
"Memento", but it comes pretty close and is another one of those
sleepers that might win big come awards time at the end of the year.
Ray Winstone stars as a former criminal that
is living on his stolen riches in Spain with his wife (Amanda
Redman). Gal (Winstone) is pretty happy with his social
situation...until a former crime associate named Logan (Ben
Kingsley) comes to town to try and convince Gal to perform one last
To tell you more will give away details of
the film, but this one is great. It mixes some humor into its
extremely tense sequences, and a couple of violent scenes make for a
decidedly adult film experience. The best part about it, though, is
Kingsley. If you saw "Gandhi" and then saw this film right after
it, you would see the great range that Kingsley possesses, and he is
brilliant in this film. Although I wasn't sure exactly what the
word "cunt" was before seeing "Sexy Beast", I have a better feel for
it now, since he utters the word almost 50 times during the course
of the film. His language is atrocious, but his control of it--the
rapid-fire delivery of his thoughts in general--is excellent. His
lean appearance and the fear he invokes in other characters make his
character truly scary and I will be shocked if his name isn't
mentioned around Oscar time. Really the best part of a great movie,
but his performance lifts the entire film.
And, a surprising turn of events mid-film
keeps things interesting and I was impressed that it was not very
predictable. The dialogue is near impossible to understand early on
for us gringos (think "Trainspotting", but five times worse), but
that didn't even matter for me. A great film in an otherwise poor
summer so far.
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard