For Bobby Fischer,
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.