A Desperately Underrated, Must-See Movie
Posted by DrFunke on August 5, 2008
Lucky Number Slevin is a Usual Suspects type thriller movie that came out about two years ago, and it’s about a case of mistaken identity and $96,000 in debt. Now, what always surprised me about this movie is that it got absolutely no buzz at all when it came out. That surprised me because this movie boasts an absolute knock-out cast, including Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Lucy Liu, and somehow starring Josh Hartnett. I know what you’re thinking now: “Why Josh Hartnett? He’s awful and something about his haircut badly irritates me.” Agreed. And I feel weird saying this, but he’s actually great in this movie. That’s hard for me to say because I’m watching The Faculty right now, but he turns in a very good performance in LNS. Obviously, the rest of the cast is exceptional, especially Kingsley and Freeman, who play rival crime bosses and friends turned enemies. Freeman plays “The Boss,” and Kingsley plays “The Rabbi.” (Why is he called the Rabbi? Because he’s a rabbi.)
Except for comedies like Anchorman and Step Brothers which are heavily improvised and downright awesome, I can’t enjoy a movie if the script isn’t at least decently written. Some of you (none of you) may recall my review of Wanted, which might have actually been the worst movie ever. It had a chance to be good, mostly because of the cast. But the writers basically decided they would take The Matrix, photocopy the script, then plagiarize some of Fight Club and put that in there, use the stupidest and single most obvious plot twist in movie history, then call it a day after they made the movie 25 times dumber than the two movies they blatantly stole from. So, in case you couldn’t tell, I hated that movie, because it was fucking stupid. LNS basically takes what the writers from Wanted did, then did the exact opposite. This movie’s script is perfectly written, and is truly superior on all levels. The dialogue is quick, witty, intelligent, and original. Every character who gets more than two lines serves a purpose in the plot. There are no characters who exist for the sake of existing, if you catch my drift, and they’re all interesting characters as well. Everyone is an important instrument in the plot’s development. Hartnett’s character is remarkably grounded and funny in a confusing and distressing situation (he says he has atarexia, a condition that prevents him from worrying about anything), and also uses my favorite jokes about a guy with two penises. (What did the guy with two penises say when his tailor asked him if he dressed to the right or to the left? Yes.) Bruce Willis plays an assassin, so you know what you’re getting from him. Morgan Freeman, surprisingly casted as a wise black man, plays his character to perfection. And Ben Kingsley’s performance is by far my favorite. He’s a gangster called “the Rabbi,” who is also a rabbi. Hartnett’s character, Slevin, asks him how he justifies being a rabbi and a gangster, two which he responds “I don’t. I’m a bad man who doesn’t waste time wondering what could’ve been when I am what could’ve been and what could not have been. I live on both sides of the fence. My grass is always green.”
And the plot itself is fucking awesome. There’s really no other way to describe it. As Bruce Willis says at the outset, it’s called a Kansas City Shuffle, and there are about 4 plot twists that you will simply not see coming. It starts off with Goodkat (Willis) killing a man in a train terminal, then moves onto Slevin (Hartnett) being mistaken for a man named Nick Fisher who owes $96,000 to The Boss (Freeman), and also owes money to the Rabbi. Throw in the murder of Freeman’s son, and from there, the plot twists and turns towards its excellent climax. When you’re watching, just remember, every character matters and every event matters (like Scorsese movies), and the plot is extremely complex but still avoids confusing the viewer.
The movie moves quickly, it’s funny, it’s brilliant, it’s really original (especially for a genre that’s exhausting ideas), and it’s one of my all-time favorites. If you watch this movie and it doesn’t become one of your all-time favorites, then fuck you. Honestly though, something is wrong with you if you don’t enjoy the hell out of this movie. Excellent: A.