Touted as one of the best films to come out of Britain since Trainspotting, I went into this film with high hopes for a quality British import like "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels". (which was just brilliant)

The movie opens with the film's protagonist, Gal Dove, played by Ray Winstone, complaining about how damned hot it is. Then, the camera cuts in with all too much footage of a well tanned, sweaty Dove in a yellow speedo. In fact, the first 10 minutes of the film is mostly Dove prancing around his pool, and putting iced washcloths on his crotch, as well as having questionable interactions with a young spanish boy he has helping him clean the pool. If that's supposed to be edgy or something, I'm appalled.

The movie continues in a really inane and completely nonlinear track with a lot of scenes of people sitting around having really boring conversations that seem completely unrelated to the plot in British accents. If I'm supposed to be intrigued, and interested in what's going on at this point, I'm not. In fact, I really don't care about any of the characters, and I still don't really know what the movie's about.

Then, the "bad guy" shows up. Ben Kingsley plays Don Logan, Dove's old boss. Apparently he wants Dove to come out of his retirement from robbery and help him with a job, and he won't take no for an answer. He's neurotic, psychotic, loud, offensive, abusive, and generally a complete jerk. He's the first character I care about, but I don't hate him, I just want him to shut up and stop using the words "f-ing c%*#" to describe everyone.

At this point, we're an hour into the movie, and nothing really interesting or important, or even the faintest glimmerings of a plot have emerged. Just a blaringly mismatched soundtrack, and a lot of yelling and swearing in British accents.

No, I'm sorry, it was at about this point that my cousin and I got up and left the discount movie theater. It wasn't the $3.25 I was worried about getting back, it was the hour of my life that this movie had soaked up that I wanted to reclaim at the ticket counter. The cute girl selling tickets should have warned me, "Go see anything else, please, this is a really awful movie."

I'd have rather been duct-taped to a chair and forced to watch "Manos, the Hands of Fate" for eons and eons.

Sexy Beast - 2000
Directed by Jonathan Glazer

Ray Winstone - Gary "Gal" Dove
Ben Kingsley - Don Logan
Ian McShane - Teddy Bass
Amanda Redman - DeeDee
Cavan Kendall - Aitch
Julianne White - Jackie
Alvaro Monje - Enrique

Cast overview from

One realizes shortly into Sexy Beast that it is a British Crime Film in exactly the same way that The Limey is a British crime film, i.e., not at all, except for the atrocious accents.

One realizes this when the coming of Ben Kingsley's character, Logan, is heralded by an enormous boulder flung hardcore down the mountainside, and narrowly missing Gal's shoulder as it plunges into his perfect pool and smashes one of the interlinked hearts at the bottom.

This is not a movie about a crime, although there is crime in it. It is also not a movie about violence, or buggery, or revenge, though those also pertain.

It is certainly not about demonic rabbits, though it seems to share that to some degree with Donnie Darko.

We spend the first part of the movie seeing how Gal and his friend Aitch have had their quits with crime and moved to Spain with the proceeds, and are living a life of bland middle aged men who have seen their time of adventure, and are living out a life of luxury as their chosen reward, with their wives/girlfriends.

They joke, they sunbathe, they tell themselves what wonderful people they are, and they generally do their best to forget that at one point, they were criminals and porn-stars.

And then, from out of the blue, Logan calls Aitch's girlfriend, Jackie, and tells her he's coming with a job for Gal.

And the whole mood drops. And we begin to see that this is, in fact, a movie about relationships. If between Gangsters and Molls and the like.

And when Logan walks into the room, he brings that doom with him. He brings disorder and pain and chaos. He's a selfish little man who's very good and very used to getting what he (or his boss) want.

He threatens. He cajoles. He admits that he once slept with Jackie, and still fancies her. He uses words on a frequent, obtrusive basis that would get him dismembered and shot at a feminist convention, and no judge would convict.

In fact, he may use the word "Fuck" more than the entire cast of Dollman. Maybe.

The Demonic Bunny of Impending Doom is aptly explained in the director's commentary, should you choose to listen to it on the DVD, which I heartily recommend. He's joined on the commentary with the rather brilliant Ben Kingsley, and it's fun just listening to them discuss and dissect something which they both obviously enjoyed an awful lot.

The film is incredibly atmospheric, and certainly a little surreal. It jumps, it chops. At times it feels like Chuck Palanuik received wherewithal to do a rewrite of The Limey, but only if he was on PCP when he did it.

It is not a film that you can precisely enjoy until the last image has cleared your eyes, the last carefully chosen bon-mot of cultural musical accompanyment has traveled precariously through your ears, that you can truly begin to decide whether you enjoyed the film, let alone what it was about.

And that will likely keep you talking for some time. This is no David Lynch film, I assure you. But it's not about what you think.

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