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"Sexy Beast"
DVD
"Sexy Beast" DVD
Reviewed by Ivana Redwine

 

Guide Rating -  

 

 

Tagline: "Sometimes it's hard to say no."

Length: 88 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, strong violence and some sexuality

Ben Kingsley and Ray Winstone give splendid performances in "Sexy Beast," an unconventional, character-driven gangster drama that has elements of dark humor, as well as a bit of a middle-aged married love story, thrown in. When I watched this movie at home recently, I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I found the special features on the DVD to be lackluster.

The plot in "Sexy Beast" is simple: Gary "Gal" Dove (Winstone) is a former professional criminal who has retired with his wife, an ex-porn star, to Spain's Costa del Sol, where the happily married couple leads an idyllic life. But Gal's tranquillity is shattered by the arrival at his house of psychopathic gangster Don Logan (Kingsley), who has come to recruit him for a heist. Gal adamantly refuses to accept the job, but the barbarous Logan continues to hound him until something terrible happens that leaves Gal no choice but to travel to London and participate in the robbery, which is directed by the ruthless Teddy Bass (Ian McShane). But as events threaten to spiral out of control, it begins to look as though Gal may never be able to return to his peaceful life with his beloved wife.

Although the above plot synopsis might lead you to think that "Sexy Beast" is just another standard caper film where an aging criminal gets involved in one last heist, let me state emphatically that that is not the case. There's no assembling a team, there's no elaborate planning, and the robbery itself is given very little screen time and comes off almost without a hitch. The focus in "Sexy Beast" is primarily on the war of wills between Gal and Logan before the heist and secondarily on the conflict between Gal and Teddy after the heist.

Ben Kingsley gives a memorable performance as the explosively violent Don Logan, and Ray Winstone is terrific as the likable gangster-gone-soft Gal Dove. The performances of Ian McShane ("Teddy Bass"), Cavan Kendall ("Aitch"), Andrea Redman (Gal's wife "Deedee"), and Julianne White (Aitch's wife "Jackie") are wonderful as well. Also, first-time movie director Jonathan Glazer brings a marvelous sense of visual style to the film. And the dialogue is fantastic, although I have to admit that I found the accents difficult to penetrate, and many Americans might be more comfortable watching "Sexy Beast" on DVD with the English subtitles turned on.

The DVD does offer a few bonus materials, and I have listed them below, but I must say I found them disappointing. The audio commentary by Ben Kingsley and producer Jeremy Thomas doesn't offer much insight, and I didn't find listening to it to be worth an hour and a half of my time. There's also a seven-and-one-half minute untitled featurette on the DVD that seems to be constructed from snippets of interviews with the director, the producer, and half a dozen actors, and the best thing I can say about this special feature is that it's short.

Selected Special Features on the DVD:

  • Audio Commentary by Ben Kingsley and Producer Jeremy Thomas
  • Untitled Featurette (Brief Interviews Totaling 7 1/2 Minutes)
  • Theatrical Trailers (5)
  • International TV Spot

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