I won't let you be happy, why should I?
A review by Mike Shea Movie Rating: ( * * * * · ) DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )
One time, when attempting to return Dune 2000 to Comp USA - one of my last visits to this anti-consumer trap - , I got so angry at the service representative that I berated retail service when compared to internet sales, threw my receipt and the game over the counter and stormed out. That was as close as I ever came to being a badass like Don Logan in Sexy Beast. Guys love badasses in movies. If it weren't for our love for other men losing all self control and dangling wimpy reporters over cliffs by their feet, we'd probably be crying like babies over My Best Friend's Wedding. Ben Kingsley as Don Logan in Sexy Beast is all about being a badass.
During a dinner where it is revealed that Don Logan is coming into town, the eyes of the men turn cold as they look around for an escape, the women look as though they are about to cry. This is the subtlety that tells us Don Logan is a bad bad guy. The level of badassity is probably too subtle for most Nascar watching, beer drinking badass wannabes, as his badassness is mainly portrayed as subtle silent stares, extreme Full Metal Jacket-like dialog and bouts of completely unpredictable psychopathic behavior. He doesn't beat up 25 guys in 10 seconds. He doesn't shoot an unconscious bad guy in the head. There are no pool cues broken over his head. Personally I could have used more reference points. In the book the Godfather, well after he is sleeping with the fishes, we find out that Luca Brazzi, the Don's top hitman, took his own baby and threw it into a furance during a fight with the babies prostitute mother. Suddenly we have a much better reason to fear Luca Brazzi than the simple "he made him an offer he couldn't refuse" record manager story. Sexy Beast didn't have any good reference point like that.
At it's core, Sexy Beast is a crime movie. Along with films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Pulp Fiction, The Limey and Snatch, Sexy Beast falls into the new genre of classy gangster movies. Sexy Beast does fall into the cliche of convincing a retired criminal to do one last job. This plot is becoming very tired, but the details in character make it breathe life in Sexy Beast. I won't let it off the hook, but it does the best job of showing what the retired life of a thief is like and how painful it is to go back for one-last-job.
The DVD of Sexy Beast does justice to the great film. It includes a 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture, a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a commentary with both Ben Kingsley and a producer. The only thing keeping it from a 5 star DVD are some other bonus features, deleted scenes or alternate endings and a DTS soundtrack.
Sexy Beast isn't pulp fiction, but it is a great solid crime drama with some excellent acting, great set design and a wonderful tale of a badass. I often wonder what horrors went through the mind of the Circuit City salesman who suffered the fires of my wrath over the Dune 2000 fiasco. No doubt it ended quickly for him with the uttering of a single word. "asshole".