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Lucky Number Slevin

Film Four Stars

Lucky Number Slevin didn't really hold much attraction for me apart from a couple of names, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Lucy Liu, and the promise of some slick style.

However that was also a big concern of mine, the trailer was playing it like a Snatch type film, and with plenty of comedy to boot. Yet quite frankly that could not be further from the truth. This is definitely one of these films that reminds you not to put so much stock in its trailer.

LuckyNumberSlevin_Poster.jpgAgain, huge thanks to the staff at Edinburgh's Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema for making these reviews possible, as well as so easy and enjoyable to do. A quality and very convenient cinema.

Slevin is not a comedy, sure it has some funny scenes and lines, but it's not a comedy. It has comic moments, yes. It's also far removed from the Snatch style that the trailer suggests. This film is paced much slower, is far more restrained and has something called subtlety. The style is indeed similar but it's not controlled by that style and flying a full speed ahead, and these are all good things.

This film is delivered in two very different styles of act. The first is quirky, filled with cool, rapid fire dialogue, and some rather witty deliveries. The latter act is much more serious and hard hitting, and to be fair that feeling is carried throughout the film, but in that first act you tend to accept it more as it is balanced with the lighter moments and delivered with much style.

Both these acts fit together well in the overall film, it's not as though they are so distinct as to adversely affect the viewing of the film. In fact the move to the more serious tone comes at just the right moment in the film, you are more than ready for the dramatic change.

It does begin slightly confusingly, but something that this film is not guilty of is handing you the answers on a plate. It's worth sticking with and letting the story come to you. It doesn't over explain or analyse, in fact it lets you make some connections for yourself and this is rather refreshing. It's much preferable than being handed everything on a plate.

The writing stands out when you're watching this film, from the quick fired witty lines during the first half of the film to the plot twists and turns and the elegance of some of the characters, you can see the quality of writing shining through. It's sharp, witty and very natural, and combined with the actors delivery it makes for a great film.

Surprisingly Josh Hartnett turns out a really good performance. He's quite restrained and fits both sides of his character really well.

Lucy Liu is the scene stealer, she is utterly superb. Playing a character very differently to the ones we've seen before she's both natural and very real.

Bruce Willis plays a similar character to those he's played before, but here there are no wise cracks, he's the straight man. He's strong, silent and imposing, and to be fair there's not much else for him to do, but he does it well.

I was surprised, but in a different way, with Ben Kingsley (or Sir Ben as he wishes to be referred to). I found him very unimpressive, barging through his lines and being excessive in many of the scenes he's in.

This is in stark contrast to Morgan Freeman who is as good as always, easy to watch and listen to. He always portrays this feeling that he could be your friend, and yet he carries this superb strength and commanding respect by just being onscreen.

Finally I have to talk about Stanley Tucci who plays one of the smaller roles. He's superb, but then he's always superb, it's just that he never seems to get the roles he deserves. Here he gives a top performance once again.

With the great script writing and this really good piece of casting work what you get is a film that draws you into the characters. This really happens during that first act as you get to know them and their quirky nature, so that when the second act hits and the more serious events occur you're already with them and believing in them. During this second act you're dragged along for the ride.

The film gives us some genuine surprises, and not just with the change of tone of the film, and although you may guess one or two on the way you find it doesn't really matter because it's the storytelling that's making this film so engaging and enjoyable.


IMDB UK movie details





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Comments

I loved this film -- like you, i went in knowing very little about what it would be like, and was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be such a thoughtful, well-written film. Josh Hartnett plays his role surprisingly well, and i was quite surprised at the end that the film had actually had an effect on me, i couldn't shake the final few scenes of it. I guess this is another case of the marketing dept.'s not knowing what to do with the film and just filling it into an easy slot with the trailer.

Saw this film last night. is fantastic.

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