Ah, the gangster film. So much fun when it’s done across the pond. What can I say, the British just know how to get shit done, and done with style. Sexy Beast came out in 2000, and I was lucky enough to see it in the theatre. Watching this one was an exercise in rapt attention. To this day, I find it enjoyable. At times brutal, at times painfully honest, it’s a fun ride. Here are five reasons to rent it from Amazon this weekend.
|Love this one.|
Kingsley’s Don Logan is batshit insane, and dear god it is fantastic to watch. Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the cast is strong. Ray Winstone is great as a retired safe cracker. Ian McShane, James Fox and Amanda Redman are great as well in their respective roles. Kingsley, though… he chews every scene he’s in and spits it back out in your face. You’re not even handed a handkerchief afterwards. And you really don’t care. You’d invite him to do it again. Apparently, he based this role on his own grandmother, which… yikes. Kingsley is so fucking good at playing a complete sociopath – unrelenting in his goal of getting Winstone’s Gal to come back for one last job – that he manages he amplify the performance of every other actor around him while still managing to remain the focal point. That, my friends, is skill.
Everyone loves a good porn star. However, what Redman’s DeeDee does is incredible: she’s a woman that acknowledges her past while trying to escape it. She doesn’t want to be blackmailed; she doesn’t like that she used to do hardcore porn. However, Redman manages to give a woman with a difficult past of which she’s not terribly proud a determination that we don’t get to see in our so-called fallen women: she owns it, and that makes her great to watch. There’s nothing so amazing as witnessing a woman that refuses to play a stupid game, which gives her relationship with Logan a staring contest feel. In another great, unconventional twist, we see what separates her from most other characters with a pornographic past: her relationship with Gal, a man that adores his wife and would do anything for her. That’s a depth we don’t often get to see with our retired porn stars: women that are people and deserving/recipients of love as well. A beautiful message for sex workers, who struggle to be viewed as human in this modern world.
The safe cracking bit that the film employs is pretty clever. McShane’s Bass is so confident that he can best the security of Harry (Fox)’s vault that Harry doesn’t really take him seriously. The way that Bass cooks up a safe crack is pretty wild, and you can understand in the end why he wanted Gal so badly. It’s over-the-top and kind of wild. I never would have thought of that method for pulling off a robbery. Kudos for not slapping on a mask and having some hammy hostage situation.
Often times, we see a cash-strapped criminal come back into crime for one last job. Other times, it’s revenge or the desire to help a loved one that’s gotten into trouble. Gal, though, wants nothing to do with any of this. He’s retired; he’s done. I was not used to seeing the “I’m going to beat you down with aggressive tactics” method to forcibly pull someone out of retirement. Again, the bulk of this rests on Kingsley’s performance as the unhinged Logan, but you have to admit that designing a film a round someone just browbeating another person for a good hour or so could have gone badly fast. It doesn’t.
Watch this film if only for this scene. That is all.
|This scene, people. This scene.|