out of 4
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|*Also starring: ||Ian McShane, Amanda Redman, James Fox, Cavan Kendall, Robert Atiko, Julianne White||
Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4
Given the hype surrounding this stylish British thriller, there's
less to it than meets the eye. Director Jonathan Glazer, best known for
his commercials and music videos, executes the sordid gangster story
with far more pace, pizzazz and polish one would expect. And that's
evident from the quirky opening shot revealing the paunchy, bronzed body
of Gal (Ray Winstone), a retired criminal, happily sunning himself on the
patio of his villa on Spain's Costa del Sol, where he lives with his wife
(Amanda Redman), a former porn star. Suddenly, as he places an ice-water
compress on his overheated crotch, a massive boulder falls from an adjacent
hillside, landing with a splash atop the intertwined hearts at the
bottom of his azure pool. It's a harbinger of things to come as the
tranquility of his sun-drenched, sybaritic idyll is threatened by the
arrival of a hot-tempered former associate (Ben Kingsley) sent by a London
mobster (Ian McShane) to recruit Gal for one last heist.
And this is a stubborn thug who won't take no for an answer. After a lethal
battle-of-wills, redolent with pent-up rage, hapless Gal winds up in
London taking part in a clever underwater robbery. So much for plot. It's
the characters that count. Winstone portrays a resistant middle-aged man
who is wildly in love with his wife, while the lean, mean Kingsley is
charismatic as the forceful, defiant, psychotic criminal. Unfortunately,
there are some surreal, self-indulgent, distracting dream sequences
involving someone dressed as a menacing rabbit-demon, and the thick East
London accents make the staccato dialogue and pervasive profanity often
difficult to decipher. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Sexy Beast"
is a grim, brutal, tawdry 5. Unless you're into a flashy, nasty Guy Ritchie
"Snatch"-type story, you can do better.
Copyright © 2001 Susan Granger
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