Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lucky Number Slevin

by Alex Stroup
I saw this yesterday at a press screening and while I don't think it will be a strong mark against the Weinstein Company, it is a pretty mixed bag.

The first question will be how much you think about a movie while you're watching it. If you're good at just going along with the flow and taking it as it comes then you stand a much better chance of enjoying everything. If, like me, you tend to try to fit scenes together as you go along you stand a fair chance of figuring everything out within the first 20 minutes and then all you have to go on is the film's attitude and that may not be enough for a lot of people.

The setup is simple, in a case of mistaken identity Slevin (Josh Hartnett) ends up stuck in the middle between The Boss (Morgan Freeman) and The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley), two mob bosses engaged in a war of vengeance. Bruce Willis plays a hitman that is somehow involved in all the goings on, Stanley Tucci is a cop assigned to watch the mob bosses, and Lucy Liu is a cute neighbor girl that gets caught up with Slevin. Pretty much exactly what you've seen in the trailer.

Of course, that isn't where the movie ends up. Ultimately the movie ties itself into a neat little package that will, as I mentioned, be much more impressive to those who don't figure it out almost immediately.

So how about the attitude? The attitude of every character is one of casual indifference. Slevin seems only slightly bothered by the fact he's has ended up involved in all of this. Liu's character seems to think it a great lark that she has run into this guy fending off two giants of the mobster industry. Even more casual are the mobsters and Willis in their casual attitude towards violence. It is just something you do in the course of the workday and particularly early the bodies fall fast and furious. There are three separate acts of murder over the opening credits (which, by the way are very well presented).

So casual is the violence that by the time a character shows any hesitation at all it could have had some real emotional impact if anybody involved with the movie had interest in emotionally impacting the audience.

And ultimately that is the problem with the movie. It is so above itself, saying "all this doesn't affect me" that it can hardly expect anybody in the audience to be affected either. There are some good lines, and even a couple good scenes. It strikes me as the kind of movie that will appeal to a certain class of teenager but there just isn't enough substance to keep me happy (and I certainly have no problems with casual violence in movies).


Blogger Chris said...

I think I'm passing on this one based on the incredibly annoying spelling of the title on the TV spots.

I refuse to watch a movie named Lucky # S7levin based on principle.

4/04/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Stroup said...

I haven't seen much of the advertising for the movie (other than trailer), but I do notice that at the official Web site they seem to either spell it "lucky number slevin" or "lucky #slevin" and in neither use the upside down 7 as an l.

4/04/2006 01:17:00 PM  

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