Sexy Beast

Dir: Jonathan Glazer, 2000. Starring: Ray Winstone, Sir Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane. Mystery/Thriller.
Sexy Beast

After spending lives in ill repute, Gal and Aitch, along with their wives, have found peace in the hills of Spain, until a former colleague crashes the party and all hell breaks loose.

Ray Winston (The Departed) plays “Gal,” a soft-spoken teddy bear of a man just trying to enjoy a calm life in Spain with his ex-porn star wife. As much as he wants a peaceful existence, the London mob has no plans to let this skilled safecracker walk away from the show.

Ian McShane (HBO’s Deadwood) is frightening as the serpentine-like boss of the gangsters. Dressed in all black with those piercing eyes, McShane manages to be extremely unnerving while saying nothing. And when he speaks, you understand why is so feared.

Sir Ben Kingsley (Sneakers) won an Academy Award for playing the world’s most famous pacifist, Gandhi. London gangster “Don Logan” is anything but. Although small in stature, Kingsley’s Logan is one of the most ferocious and rabid of any criminal character to hit the screen. He is a man easily thrown into fits of rage to cover the little bits of confused humanity he has in him. His non-stop cursing and edgy body language make it impossible to pull your eyes from him in every scene he is in.

Louis Mellis and David Scinto’s screenplay is taut, original and filled with unique characters constantly delivering rapid-fire dialogue that cracks and splinters.

Director Jonathan Glazer followed a string of successful music videos to debut as a feature filmmaker with Sexy Beast. There are few directors who come out of the gate so strongly—telling a unique story from a fresh point of view. He takes one of the most overly used genres (gangster pictures) and presents a one of a kind tale of love and obligation. He directs the talented cast wonderfully, structuring the film so that it is a constant rubber band of tension always ready to snap,

Ivan Bird’s cinematography is apt and sharply observed, but not showy. He does well to fill the frame with the talented group of actors and just let them run with it.

Roque Banos’ largely drum & bass score mixed with classical strings is more felt than heard, providing a great eerie mood and pulsating energy to the film.

John Scott and San Sneade’s editing does a fantastic job (especially in the final act) of cross-cutting time and space, so we watch the ball rolling while being filled in about how we got here.

One of Sexy Beast’s most impressive technical aspects is its sound design—a nice balance between true everyday sounds with a slice of the surreal.

For fans of both the crime genre and love stories, Sexy Beast is the movie for you.


Sexy Beast was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (Ben Kingsley).

Posted by:
Seamus Smith
Mar 16, 2009 1:39pm
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