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Sexy Beast (2000)

October 11, 2009

7/10 Overstayed Welcomes

Marks the moment in my life when I realized that Ben Kingsley is a god among men.

Sexy Beast is about a British thug mobster that is given the task of convincing a former safecracker to come back and do one last job, only the said safecracker doesn’t want to do it. This upsets the British thug mobster. He then proceeds to make the safecracker’s life a living hell. It is quite entertaining.

So this is the feature debut of director Jonathan Glazer, one of those guys who started out directing some awesome music videos like this one before turning to film. It’s too bad that he hasn’t really done much worth noting since this came out because he’s got a really cool, collected style that feels kinda like a mix between Michael Mann (Collateral, Heat) and David Fincher (Se7en, The Game, Zodiac). Don’t know what he’s up to now, but dude needs to get back on the bandwagon.

Anyway, there’s a couple things about this movie that certainly do kick a fine amount of ass. Like I said, the look and feel of it, very cool and very sleek. The script is also really, really sharp, as any movie about gangsters berating gangsters should be. Kinda hard to catch everything that’s being said because of the cockney accents, but since you can more or less read a phone book with a cockney accent and it’ll sound cool, this is hardly a complaint.

Man, I don’t know why I’m beating around the bush right now. There’s really only one reason to see this movie: Ben-fucking-Kingsley. He plays the British thug mobster who’s sent in to persuade the safecracker, and I don’t know who had the great idea to cast Kingsley here, but my hat is off to that guy. I don’t think many producers would jive to the idea of letting Gandhi play the most intense and foul-mouthed scumbag bastard in the movie, but that just makes the role that much better. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’d recommend this movie to the teeth if only for Ben Kingsley. I don’t know how he didn’t snag the Oscar for this ’cause he freakin’ earned it. 

But alas, the main drawback about the script and main reason this movie didn’t quite get an 8 out of 10 is its story. Despite everything it does right, there’s just something about the story that seems pretty uninteresting whenever Kingsley isn’t on-screen. It just kind of drags after a while and can’t match the cool factor of its cast. I don’t know, I just didn’t find myself really caring about what was gonna happen next in the plot, you just end up wanting to see what Sir Ben is up to.

Alright, I’ll shut up about Ben Kingsley already, this is getting ridiculous. As a whole, Sexy Beast could have been better, but nonetheless, it’s still pretty effin awesome. Ray Winstone also plays the safecracker and the under-appreciated Ian McShane has a bit role as Kingsley’s boss, and since they’re both due to be acknowledged for how badass they are, I’m giving them the shout-out they deserve. This is one in-your-face movie filled with a gratuitous amount of swearing, but I think I’ve made it pretty damn clear as to why you should go see this: Evil Gandhi.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    October 14, 2009 3:50 pm

    Speaking of Sir Ben Kingsley … did you see “Elegy”? If so, what did you think of him in that? He can come off a bit standoffish and cool sometimes, but in movies like “Elegy” and “You Kill Me” (very funny) it works.

  2. October 17, 2009 12:27 pm

    Aiden — Glazer has done something very notable since SEXY BEAST…a film called BIRTH (with Nicole Kidman) that is absolutely astounding and completely different stylistically from SEXY BEAST. It seems Glazer was attempting to channel Kubrick but still maintain his artsy music-video vibe in BIRTH and the result is mesmerizing. At any rate…I agree…it is a damn shame he hasn’t done a film since BIRTH. I think the stupid controversy surrounding that film and its subsequent bombing at the box office stifled his momentum.

    And to the other commenter — I loved Kingsley in “Elegy” and “You Kill Me” — two very good films and two very different roles for him. I’m glad you mentioned them.

    • October 18, 2009 12:29 pm

      I’ve been looking into Birth considering that Glazer is indeed the man, but you’re about the first person who’s really been a big advocate of it so far, so thanks! I’ll definitely give it a look one of these days. Thanks for the heads up and thanks for reading.

      • October 19, 2009 11:09 pm

        I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on BIRTH once you’ve seen it. It’s a challenging film…very astutely crafted, but most misunderstand or dismiss it unfairly.


  1. Sexy Beast (2001) – What the Hell Should I Watch on NETFLIX?

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