Buy This Film
2006
Rated: R for graphic violence, and strong sexual content.
Genre: Crime Gangster Action Thriller Comedy Romance
Directed By: Paul McGuigan
Running Time: 1:50
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 9/04/06
DVD Features:
Making Lucky # Slevin
Deleted Scenes And Alternate Ending
Commentary By Josh Hartnett, Lucy Liu & Writer Jason Smilovic
Commentary By Director Paul McGuigan
Theatrical Trailer

LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN

 

One word came to mind when I was finished watching “Lucky Number Slevin”: Underrated. Of all the films in the last four years, “Lucky Number Slevin” has to be without a doubt the most underrated. From the very beginning, you have to pay attention. Pay attention to every scene, every plot device, and every character. Because, you may not notice it at first glance, but “Lucky Number Slevin” is one hell of a complex mystery. Slevin Kelevra just arrived into town to visit his friend.

When his friend Nick doesn’t show, he finds himself in the business end of a mafia debt that he can’t fix. Director McGuigan composes an utterly brilliant piece of neo-noir, in which every character is shady, every character is mysterious, and we’re never sure what’s going to happen next. “Slevin” begins like every other good crime thriller and noir out there. A man is killed by a stranger he meets, and the story begins. The script, as written by Jason Smilovic, is possibly one of the best I’ve ever seen as he composes himself like Mamet and fills the screen with colorful characters that shoot dialogue back and forth like gunfire.

“Lucky Number Slevin” is a film you have to pay attention to, and when you’re finished with it, you’ll revel in the fact that it still managed to surprise you in spite of keeping an eye on the clues. But “Slevin” is also a very entertaining bit of action mystery that is just too good to resist. Its slick, it’s stylish and its too smart for the mainstream. As for Josh Hartnett, his performance is good, it’s very good, and I’m shocked. As Slevin he’s a very nonchalant man who doesn’t seem to realize the trouble he’s in. Like every other noir hero in film history, the man here falls into his situation thanks to circumstances, mistaken identity, and sheer shitty luck, and he just can’t seem to get out of it.

Even now that he has a mysterious man named Mr. Smith following him, and a group of undercover cops. Slevin is a great character. He knows he’s in a really bad situation, yet still can’t keep his mouth shut. What’s most likable about Slevin is that though he knows he’s in a potentially fatal situation, he seems to be getting a kick out of the people here. “Slevin” is also graced with a great cast of actors from Lucy Liu who is the very likable next door neighbor, Stanley Tucci, and Bruce Willis who is the resident shadowy figure who plays a purpose.

Best of all are the performances from Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley whom are just utterly fantastic as rival mob bosses imprisoned by their own paranoia from an assassination. It’s nice to see Morgan Freeman doing something other than narrating for once. And, of course, like all noir films, this one comes to a banging closer with a hell of a surprise twist that you will not see coming, regardless of how smart you make think you are, and I loved it for that.

There's nothing like neo-noir that's both smart and stylish, and "Lucky Number Slevin" surely fits the bill in terms of the movie that's cool enough to gain a fan base, but smart enough to please even the most cynical movie-goer. Great cast, great performances, and surprise galore. What more do you want?

 

 

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