Here is a brilliantly written, brilliantly acted and brilliantly directed movie. With huge star names involved, which barely anyone has seen. Its worldwide box office was $56,308,881 on a budget of $27,000,000, so not terrible numbers but not great. Particularly when you consider the film had such star power Josh Hartnett at the peak of his popularity post ‘Pearl Habour’ (Bay, 2001) and ‘Black Hawk Down’ (Scott, 2001). Lucy Liu who had been in the hugely successful Charlie’s Angels (McG, 2000) and both Kill Bills (Tarantino, 2003). It also starred Morgan Freeman one of the most consistent box office performers in the world for over 30 years as was Bruce Willis and Sir Ben Kingsley add to the mix the extraordinarily talented Stanley Tucci and this film should have been huge. But it wasn’t. So now it is time to give ‘Lucky Number Slevin’ (McGuigan, 2006) the praise it deserves.
The film starts with Bruce Willis explaining to a stranger what a ‘Kansas City Shuffle’ is (see movie for full explanation), this is then followed closely by a whole series of people been assassinated you don’t know who is been killed or who is doing the killing. After this a man claiming to be Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett) turns up in New York to see his friend Nick Fisher and is immediately mugged. He arrives at Nick Fisher house (or his house) and meets Lindsey (Lucy Liu). After she leaves two hired goons turn up, this is where all the fun really starts. As Nick Fisher owes a lot of money to both The Boss (Morgan Freeman) and The Rabbi (Sir Ben Kingsley) neither of whom get a long. Things get more complicated from there, but this is a good jumping off point.
One of the reasons I love this film is how clever it is, so many films now days spoon feed you the plot. To the point where most dialogue in films are just exposition between the characters. Here is a mainstream film which treats its audience like grown ups and expects them to follow along. It is not some ridiculous complicated or absurd film though don’t worry. What I mean is that it rewards close viewing and indeed repeat viewing, all throughout the film there are clues about what is going to happen later in the film. But they are not so obvious that if you are just watching casually you will get it. I think this is the true of almost all the best movies e.g. Memento (Nolan, 2000), Sixth Sense (Shyamalan, 1999).
I haven’t even mention how funny it is yet take a look at this non-spoilertastic clip. This isn’t even one of the better scenes in the movie and it still great.
Lucky Number Slevin brilliant balance humour, character development and plot due in large part to the wonderful writing of Jason Smilovic and the strange yet perfect score by J. Ralph only the second score he ever wrote. If you are a fan of In Bruges (McDonagh, 2008) or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Black, 2005) this movie will be right up your street and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Please get back to me with any comments or film recommendations. See you guys in about a week.
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