Sexy Beast (2000)

In the interplay between consciousness and subconsciousness lies that zone in awakened state where we fantasize in reverie what sleep thankfully forgives our nightmares. This film, screen-written by Louis Mellis and David Scinto, and wonderfully directed by Jonathan Glazer, mixes these two worlds with a craftsmanship and delivery highly suitable to its storyline. For English mob handyman Gary Dove (Ray Winstone) is about to be brought out of retirement by the very man most likely to be able to mix both for him, psychopath mob enforcer Don Logan (Ben Kingsley.) Kingsley’s performance is incredible, riveting the viewer to every line he delivers, the slightest move he makes. Winstone’s role is exceedingly well served as well and its complexity made convincing only through his exceptional acting ability. It is his two worlds of consciousness/subconsciousness played with.

Amanda Redman as Deedee Dove, former good time girl turned Dove’s devoted lover, gives a sterling performance that elevates a supporting role to the status of lead, a rare attribute only occasioned when we see superior casting. Ian McShane is Teddy Bass, mob boss and “project organizer” who has been virtually dared by a high society financier to crack the vault in which the elite entrust their most valued items. The “job” thus becomes “personal”. And pressure is placed on Logan to exercise his demonic skills in recruiting the best, even out of retirement to Mediterranean  paradise. How far will he go? In answering this question, the film takes twists only capable of being woven by gifted story writing.

Of course when a film starts out with its protagonist being barely missed by a charging ten ton boulder while taking in the beauty of his circumstance standing on the edge of his swimming pool…well, it has a big bill to fill. And it does…oh how it does. With an elegance of its own.

No nudity, intense in other ways. Strong language, excessive smoking and psychologically challenging. Well making up for no chase scenes.

Beautifully subtle in so many English styled ways. Spectacular camera work. Highly recommended.

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