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Lucky Number Slevin October 22, 2006

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.

This is one of those movies that keeps you guessing till the end. Though you never know what is exactly happening, I never felt the urge to try and guess the final twist. The movie clues you in a little bit at a time but it never provides you with enough to give the plot away. The premise is simple. Slevin is an unlucky man in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is mistaken to be someone else and gets caught between two warring gangsters, an assasin and a cop.

The movie has a huge starcast with Josh Harnett playing Slevin, supported by Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, Stanley Tucci, Lucy Liu and even Robert Forster in a cameo. The performance by these A-list actors is obviously good and it makes the movie worth watching just to see these guys together. Out of these actors, I never thought much of Lucy Liu. However, she does a nice job as a girl with verbal diarrhoea.

Technically, the movie is distinctive. The director Paul McGuigan (Wicker Park) does a very good job. He manages to surprise you even more than what the script intends. The transitions, shot compositions, sets, camera work (Peter Sova) and editing (Andrew Hulme) make for a very slick flick.

The weak part in the movie is the writing by Jason Smilovic. The twists are turns in the plot are present just to make it convoluted. That is good because the underlying story is pretty average. Hence, the presentation and the way it is set up are used to make it interesting and intriguing. However, you do get the feeling that the writer is too smug. Just because the audience cannot guess the end doesn’t mean that it is an intelligent plot. I can see that some members of the audience will be pissed off by how the movie unfolds. I was never really completely drawn into the plot and the characters as I was to the other embellishments.

The dialogue is good for most part. It has humor and it is clever. However, there are times when there is too much dialogue making you feel that the writer is trying too hard to be smart. Coming to the characters in the movie, I never really rooted for any character in the movie. I felt they aren’t really developed in a way that the audience can fall in love with them (as in a Tarantino movie for example).

The plot has its share of glitches. Take Bruce Willis’ character for instance. He is crucial to the twists. Given his profession and temperament in the film, there seems to be no reason for him to do some of the things he does. So, this movie is definitely not to be scrutinized too much.

Overall I would say that the convoluted, contrived and flawed plot isn’t exactly its strong point. However, the technique, style, acting and dialogue are some of the things that make up for it, making it an entertaining watch. I was entertained and so will lovers of slick flicks.


1. Tarun - October 23, 2006

Hi Sai,
Nice to see your review. Do agree that the writing is a obtuse from the beginning. Infact, during the first half i was wondering what the clever bantering between Lucy Liu & Josh was about. It felt that the writer was trying to be smug about his capabilities without adding anything to the plot.

The only part that was good, was that all the loose ends are tied up at the end with a plausible enough ending. The movie also has a retro ambience all over, with some “clever” digs about the genre. Morgan freeman and Ben Kingsley were fantasic as usual, though i expected more from the scene where they both are tied up and confronting each other.

2. Shujath - August 13, 2008

Well, I was able to guess at least one of the twists towards the end….thanks to the clumsily written character of Bruce Willis. But what actually put me off at quite a few places was the see-we-are-so-cool kind of dialogue.

It’s definitely watchable but not the one which makes you feel you’ve seen a very clever thriller

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