Sexy Beast
(Click here for Internet Movie Database entry)

Gandhi, Turtle Diary, Dave, Searching For Bobby Fischer, Anne Frank.  These are all movies starring Ben Kingsley as nice, very nice, almost saintly characters. He's tired of it. He wants to do something different.  So he signs up for a movie called Sexy Beast.  Well, that's how I imagine that he got into this film.  In Sexy Beast, Ben Kingsley is definitely not nice. As the film opens, two former toughs from England (Ray Winstone and Cavan Kendall) are enjoying their well earned retirement in Spain.  Suddenly, they receive a call from a former associate (Kingsley) who would like Winstone to come back for a job.  Kingsley shows up in Spain to convince Winstone to return. The two former toughs and their wives know Kingsley all too well. He is a bit of a sociopath and he is trying to force Winstone out of retirement just to show that he has control over Winstone's life.  The "job" is a big robbery lead by Kingsley's boss, a kind of mafioso played by Ian McShane. The arrival of Kingsley in Spain sends shock waves through the lives of the formerly happy retirees and things go from bad to worse pretty fast.  And soon, Winstone is back in England taking part in the heist.  Ben Kingsley is always great and this "bad-guy" role is no different. He really becomes this character with a vengeance. Such a larger-than-life role can throw a movie out of kilter if the other actors are not up to it.  But Ray Winstone, who I've never seen before, does quite an amazing job, himself, with the role of a guy with a past that he thought he had left behind.  When I came out of this film, I commented that it was a bit like Three Kings.  In that film, the  director seemed to be right out of film school and eager to try out all the cool shots he learned. When, I looked up the director of Sexy Beast, Jonathan Glazer, on the Internet Movie Database, low and behold, it's his first movie! The direction is very interesting although sometimes it gets a bit intrusive.  There is a slightly surreal feel to the film as Winstone finds that his paradise is haunted by demons.  This film isn't perfect but it has two very strong performances and Kingsley's has Oscar nomination written all over it.