Lucky Number Slevin

Lucky Number Slevin

****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Every now and then a film comes along that is so slick, you're happy to run with it and to hell with the facts. Directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu, Lucky Number Slevin moves so fast, you barely have time to catch your breath to voice concerns about the plot.

Hartnett (working with McGuigan for the second time after Wicker Park) is in little-boy-lost mode as Slevin, a man who, thanks to a case of mistaken identity, ends up on the wrong side of two gangsters - The Boss (Morgan Freeman, adding a touch of class as usual) and Schlomo (Ben Kingsley). Slevin owes them cash and one wants it back, while the other is more interested in turning his debtor into a murderer ("If you don't want to do what I want you to do, you're going to go from my pocket to my fridge").

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Ducking in and out of this seedy world is Mr Goodkat (Bruce Willis), an assassin who seems to have his own agenda, and Lindsey (Liu), a mortuary assistant who fancies Slevin and wants to play detective.

It's the pace of the film that wins the day. Quick cuts abound, but they never get in the way of the story, which races along, thanks to a sassy script that relies on wit and charm, rather than expletives. While some of the characters are two-dimensional - the gangsters' henchmen, in particular, have been reduced to one trick ponies - at least this means that they don't get in the way of the plot.

The performances are good across the board, with Liu on particularly sparkling form, as the only woman. The exception is Kingsley, whose New York Jewish kingpin fails to hit the spot - this is one occasion where casting an American actor would have paid dividends.

Any film with Hartnett in a towel for the first 20 minutes is bound to win over a few female fans. Perhaps the biggest gripe would be that despite the intricate storyline, which pitches you backwards and forwards in time, it is still possible to see the ending from a distance. However, it's the verbal sparring between Slevin and the other characters, particularly Lindsey, that will endure once the credits have rolled.

It's the ride, not the destination, that thrills.

Reviewed on: 24 Feb 2006
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A case of mistaken identity in a fast-paced gangster milieu.
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Director: Paul McGuigan

Writer: Jason Smilovic

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Michael Rubenfeld, Peter Outerbridge, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Chamberlin, Dorian Missick, Mykelti Williamson

Year: 2006

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Germany, USA

Festivals:

Sundance 2006

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