Sexy Beast

Sexy Beast

is the latest British import to get rave reviews among the art-house

crowd, and it’s obvious why: it features first-rate performances from

two of England’s best film actors (Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley).

Kingsley is astonishing as an East End gangster sent over to Winstone’s

villa on the Costa del Sol to persuade him to come back to England

for one last job. The novice director, Jonathan Glazer, allows Kingsley

and Winstone the time and space to show just what they’re capable

of. (Glazer came from directing television commercials, but there’s

very little jump-cut freneticism here.)

But partly because of the relatively sedate camerawork, and partly

because of the script (by Loius Mellis), the good bit of the film

— the war of wills between the two leads — feels like an adapted

stage play. And when the action moves to England and the pace picks

up, Glazer turns out not to have any ability to build suspense. I

think Winstone narrowly avoids death at one point (just as he does

right at the beginning of the film, for no obvious reason), but it

wasn’t very clear.

A lot of the film simply fails. Glazer insists on throwing in various

dream sequences and magical realism which don’t work at all, and the

exposition of the reasons for the heist seems utterly pointless. (There’s

also a shot of Ian McShane dripping water, which needed a lot more

explanation. Ambiguity is not always a good thing.) On the other hand,

Kingsley’s last lines will stay with all who see this movie for a

very long time, and not only because Kingsley is such a good actor:

Glazer shoots them magnificently.

So it’s a curate’s egg of a movie. If you go to the movies in order

to see great acting performances, then go see this one. If you want

to see a perfectly-formed film, however, don’t bother. Go rent Dog

Day Afternoon or something instead.

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One Response to Sexy Beast

  1. Mary says:

    I am not into art that much but every time I see art I am pretty amaze. For me, art is full of meaning. At first, you’ll don’t know what the art means but if you look at it and feel it you’ll understand.

    mary from console blanche 

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