Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

An Uneasy Mix of Josh and Violence

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

An Uneasy Mix of Josh and Violence

Article excerpt

Byline: DEREK MALCOLM

Lucky Number Slevin Cert 18, 110 mins .....

SCOTTISH director Paul McGuigan, who made this film in America with a luxury cast and a considerable amount of money, directed Gangster Number One in the UK, a violent but impressive East End thriller. Lucky Number Slevin is almost equally violent but has pretensions to being an ironic comedy. Clever and genre-bending as the film often is, the blood and the jokes mix uneasily.

The central character is Josh Hartnett's Slevin, a man with permanent bad luck.

When his life goes inevitably wrong in LA, he moves to New York, but once there he finds himself a marked man. This is because two criminals who hate each other's guts mistake him for a gambler who owes them money. One is The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley) and the other The Boss ( Morgan Freeman, right). They have apparently killed each other ' s favoured sons and want someone to avenge them. Slevin will do fine, since he won't have to be paid; the fact that his debt will be forgiven is enough.

Complicating matters is Bruce Willis's professional hitman, trying to play one side against the other. There is also Lucy Liu as a mortuary pathologist who takes a fancy to Slevin and s omehow seems implicated.

McGuigan is clearly a smart filmmaker and there's an equally smart film- noirish screenplay from Jason Smilovic but it all seems a bit too clever by half, and its comparatively slow pace makes its 110 minutes seem at least 10 minutes too long.

There's a lot of quality about the film, but the whole doesn't equal its best parts. And a little less gore might have been a good thing, too. …

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