Who thought we would ever see a legendary performer like Ben Kingsley play a cunning vicious gangster? In a career spanning five decades, Kingsley has played icons like Gandhi, an accountant in "Schindler's List"and Sherlock Holmes's assistant Dr. Watson in "Without a Clue" among others. The last time Kingsley played a criminal was in the movie "Bugsy" as financial master Meyer Lansky. One thing I can tell you is that in "Sexy Beast", the beast is truly within his character Don Logan. He has the fearfulness of a drill instructor complete with a reddened visage and veins materializing on his forehead, yes he is someone you don't want to to get crossed with. And then there's a chap by the name of Dove (Ray Winstone) who's a retired gangster is residing in a villa in the Costa del Sol region in Spain with his wife Deedee (Amanda Redman), who's a former porn star. He rebuffs to go back to London to take part in a final bank heist set up by Logan's superior Teddy (Ian McShane). Logan is the person who doesn't accept no for an answer which Dove informs our audience and I couldn't agree more. Logan's fearful ways is not based off of his toughness, but because he is an angry tyrant by nature. He has the instincts of a doberman, hard-nosed vicious. He takes the loyalties to please his leader an inject fear to those who cross his path. He has a natural talent for utilizing absurdities in volatile way and shows no apologies about it. "Sexy Beast" falls in the annals of movies that centres around Cockney people of England along with "The Long Good Friday" and "The Limey". Along with the lines with the darker underground of London, the characters depicted falls right into place. Dove's a gangster who wants out, Logan's manipulation is to inflict fear, Teddy the ringleader has everything in place for this heist and Harry (James Fox) who thinks Teddy's his lover owns the bank and believes his bank is impregnable. The heist at times seems a bit peculiar once Dove agrees to along with it. The criminals seems to have access to this Turkish bathhouse where the vault is, but they lack common sense being they should have drained the pool so the crooks wear breathing gear to get to the vault which naturally the water fills up which leads to an incredible scene where a crook finds a deposit box hoping it contains something valuable, only to get an unpleasant surprise. The opening scene is really quite an eyeful. We see Dove at the Spanish villa sunning himself by the pool, when all of the sudden a giant boulder comes crashing down and nearly crushes him to death. That scene alone is very metaphoric. Eventually, Dove becomes the boulder by the time the second act turns. Kingsley has demonstrated that he can play any character you throw at him. He is scary, ruthless, manipulative, short-tempered, and feeds of his word with remorseless frustration. I never thought he had it in him. His most cunning was the scene where while on flight from Spain to England, where an attendant asked him not to smoke on the plane and to put his cigarette out. But Logan will not oblige without a fight. That scene was worth the applause from the audience. Ray Winstone turns in great performance as Dove, but just was badly upstaged by Kingsley's performance. Winstone has played fearful brutes as well. Who can forget his scary performance as an abusive father in Gary Oldman's "Nil By Mouth" or in "The War Zone" starring Tim Roth. When these performers want Winstone as their villain, they sure could get it out of him. Dove is portrayed as a gangster going legit, retreating to the softer side of life who can still inject fear among the residence in the villa, but is still frightened by Logan. The humour in this movie is usurped by the thriller this movie depicts. Once the heist is done Teddy (cunning but laid-back) offers Dove a ride to the airport, which has few surprises in itself, part jilted, part ironic. These are tough guys that could make "The Sopranos" take notes from them.
Crime / Drama / Thriller
Crime / Drama / Thriller
Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits "retired" safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them.
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April 12, 2019