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VINE VOICEon April 20, 2006
I wasn't exactly sure about the whole idea and concept behind this movie as I walked into it tonight, since all it took was a fifteen second glimpse of a TV trailer and the ambiguous claim about a case of mistaken identity that uncoiled my interest into full blown curiosity.

I was floored and blown away by the movie and at the same time really proud of trusting my gut feeling about good flicks. I was thrown off many times by the black humor since I knew it wasn't a comedy as Slevin (Josh Hartnett) had what seemed like a really unlucky chain of events that have spiraled him into a big, hot mess. As he arrives in New York to meet up with an old school friend after being fired from work, cheated on by his girlfriend back home and mugged down the block, all he finds is an empty apartment and no sign of Nick, his old friend. He proceeds to shower and dress as unexpectedly the next door neighbor, Lucy Liu, drops by to borrow some sugar. They become quick friends with matching quirky personalities and from that point on things go from laughingly bad to worse.

Slevin is mistaken for Nick, who apparently owes money to two rivaling mafia type bosses who hate each other and he gets pulled into their personal war. This movie was so full of twists and turns that I forgot to eat my snacks and almost left my purse at the theater at the end. I recommend not reading too much about it and skipping long trailers because this beauty can be given away on a silver platter and to miss that feeling in the theater of realizing the true story would be a sin. I was really impressed by the actors in this movie and I think Josh who looks like a teen-movie type of an actor did a brilliant job! Bruce Willis is also quickly becoming one of my favorite actors, here as a slick top class assasin, I was impressed greatly!

I enjoyed the twisted suspense, murder mystery comic relief type of a story so much that I was unable to concentrate on my book on the way home. I couldn't read or think, all I was consumed by was the story. This movies is an odd-ball, eccentric, quirky, unconventional and refreshing cinematographic achievement. The line between good and bad guy was blurred consitantly and the story dug deeper and deeper into my curious brain. I'm really glad I got to see it on the big screen.

And last but not last let me tell you, the loud people in front of us who wear eatting and laughing quickly became mutes so sucked into the story that I forgot I was furious with them before. It kept everyone entertained and made them gasp at the right time and the hip music at the end really wrapped the whole thing together nicely.
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on August 13, 2006
I didn't see this coming. I was expecting some criminal movie a la Guy Ritchie but what I got was a whole lot different. At first it seemed like some average criminal movie: well, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley as two gang bosses, Bruce Willis as a hitman, Stanley Tucci as a cop, Lucy Liu as a hot autopsist and goofy Josh Hartnett in between - it was fun. Especially with funny lines like: "Why do everyone call him rabbi?" - "Because he's a rabbi..."

It was closer to the end when I realized the film was not what it seemed to be. And to be more precise - it was not what it pretended to seem to be. Just like with Paul McGuigan's last flick "Wicker Park". Remember watching it and then gasping at one point: "Wow"? Same thing happened to me here and I must say McGuigan is a hell of a director. He is pulling the wool over our eyes during the whole movie just to come up with such a twist in the end we will not know what to say.

And even when it looks like an ordinary story which we saw a lot already, it looks good. Because of the fine acting, sharp directing, brilliant screen-play with smart and ironic dialogs... You don't get a feeling the movie is played out and second hand. It's indeed fresh, it tastes and smells delicious. It's light and it melts in your mouth.

In a way after I exhaled that "Wow" after finished watching the first thought that came to my mind was: "It's the second "Usual Suspects". I wouldn't actually insist it is so but when you watch it you'll get me. By the way if I were you I wouldn't read anything about "Lucky Number Slevin" before watching, no reviews or annotations. I wouldn't ask friends who saw it about it. Don't try to learn anything about this film beforehand even if those are some insignificant details. And stop reading this also (I'm shutting up at last) - go and watch!
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Bodies accumulate quickly in LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN - at least eight in the first 15 minutes, not including the horse. Then, I lost count.

As background to "now", the film flashes back a couple of decades to a fateful horse race. A young husband and father, privy to a tip about a horse doped for extra speed, takes out a foolishly big loan from a bookie and bets it all. His horse comes from behind, but then fails to finish in dramatic fashion. With no way for the loser to pay back the loan, the local Mob makes an example by brutally killing him, his wife, and his young son. Flash forward to "now".

Slevin (Josh Hartnett) arrives in New York to visit his friend Nick (Sam Jaeger). On his way to the latter's apartment, Slevin is mugged, his nose broken, and his wallet stolen. Arriving at Nick's place, Slevin finds it deserted and the door open, but decides to stay the night. The next day, Slevin is kidnapped, garbed only in a bath towel, from the apartment by two thugs and forced to meet with The Boss (Morgan Freeman) in his luxurious penthouse. The Boss believes Slevin to be Nick and claims the latter owes him $96K, but gives Slevin the option of eliminating the debt by killing the son of his archrival in crime, The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley), who lives in an identical penthouse immediately across the street. Unable to prove his real identity - remember the stolen wallet - Slevin has no choice but to agree to terms before returning to the apartment. Then, as if the day wasn't going bad enough, two of The Rabbi's goons kidnap Slevin and force him to meet with their employer, who, unaware of Slevin's shotgun arrangement with The Boss, claims that Nick owes him $32K. Both mobsters give Slevin three days to meet his obligation.

Slevin's life is further complicated by Lindsey (Lucy Liu), Nick's perky across-the-hall neighbor and NYC medical examiner, hard-boiled plainclothes cop Brikowski (Stanley Tucci), who has both The Boss and The Rabbi under surveillance from a dilapidated van who and wonders how Slevin enters the equation, and Mr. Goodkat (Bruce Willis), a mysterious paid assassin who's apparently working both sides of the street, so to speak.

LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN is a fiendishly clever, albeit bloody, masterpiece of misdirection and long-delayed justice with a completely unexpected plot twist. This is perhaps the first film of 2006 that contains Oscar-worthy performances - Best Supporting Actor nominations for both Freeman and Kingsley.

The film, at times a very dark comedy, is given its lighter (and romantic) moments by the Lindsey character, whose presence on the screen is marked by a soundtrack turned quirky and playful, and her interaction with the vulnerable Slevin. As a couple, the two are enormously appealing.

Bruce Willis is in top form as the calm, dapper, efficient hit man working in the background to control the strings of his puppets, which apparently even include both The Boss and The Rabbi.

The cinematography, enhanced by uncluttered, modern and/or otherwise visually engaging sets, e.g. the first visit to the airport waiting room, the penthouse occupied by The Boss, and the hallway outside Nick's apartment, is inspired. Even the wallpaper in Lindsey's bedroom is eye-catching.

After a long work day followed by an evening meal, I'm likely to nod off even during a better-than-average film. LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN kept my eyes open and riveted to the Big Screen for its entire runtime.
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on May 15, 2007
After watching this movie over cable in HD I was glad to see it released on HD DVD.

Warning: Possible Spoiler here! This is basically a payback story that has many twists in it that reminds me of a Hitchcock movie. Some mysteries are only good to watch once but this one has so much going on to try and trick you that multiple viewings are recommended.

The picture quality was outstanding with bright colors and deep blacks that was visably better than cable HD on my Hitachi 50" rear projection LCD as was the Dolby Digital Plus audio. No problems with playback or menu access either on my HD-A1 with 2.0 firmware. Highly Recommended!
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I enjoyed this movie thoroughly. It was suspenseful, twisting and turning this way and that. Just when I thought I knew the answer of what was to happen next, the plot would turn, and more anwers were revealed.

If you like Josh Hartnett a little bit now, you will like him even more after viewing this movie. It seems to me like he is growing up gracefully, out of the teen movie paradigm, into succeeding as a young adult actor.

Bruce Willis is also good, taking a bit of a backseat in his role but steady throughout. The sexy Lucy Liu is practically the only woman in this movie at all - a lot of action with a little fun...
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on April 18, 2006
The Kansas City shuffle, two rival crime lords, and a case of mistaken identity. These are the key elements of the sly and devious little film "Lucky Number Slevin," directed by Paul McGuigan (Gangster No. 1).

After opening scenes of gruesomely operatic--and apparently unconnected--executions (some in the past and some present day), the film begins with Slevin (Josh Hartnett) in transit to his friend Nick Fisher's apartment. Slevin has been having a very bad day. He's lost his job, his apartment house has been condemned, and he came home to find his girlfriend getting busy with a stranger in their bed. When Nick offers a quick 'get out of town' escape, Slevin jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, on his way to Nick's apartment Slevin is mugged, his wallet stolen and his nose broken for good measure. Arriving at the apartment, Slevin finds the door open and Nick nowhere to be found.

Barely settled in, Slevin meets Nick's seriously adorable next door neighbor, Lindsey (Lucy Liu), and sparks immediately fly. Their flirtation is short-lived, however, as Slevin is soon kidnapped by two different rival gangs--that of The Boss (Morgan Freeman)--and that of The Rabbi (Sir Ben Kingsley)--who each inform him that he (Nick Fisher) owes them huge sums of money which he needs to make good on--or else. Unable to prove that he is not Nick Fisher--and no one willing to simply take his word for it--Slevin finds himself owing large on Nick's debt. The Boss is willing to cancel his debt in exchange for "a favor." He is to kill the son of his former business partner and longtime rival, The Rabbi. It seems that The Rabbi killed his son, and payback is in order. Lurking about in the shadows is Mr. Goodkat (Bruce Willis), a contract killer who seems to have plans of his own for Slevin.

Who is the mysterious Mr. Goodkat? What's happened to Nick? Will Slevin be able to outwit The Rabbi and The Boss? Is Slevin really even Slevin? Is anything the way it appears to be? These are the questions at the heart of the film.

The movie is full of quirky, offbeat characters (Hassidic gangsters working for The Rabbi, the dim-witted henchman working for The Boss and the eccentric policemen watching the situation unfold from a stakeout van). The rapid-fire, stylized dialogue, extreme 1970's set decor, and garish graphic and floral wallpaper designs all add to the cheerily macabre atmosphere of the film. (I am sure that if there is wallpaper in Hell, it looks very much like the selection here.)

Playing with the structure of noir crime films, "Lucky Number Slevin" puts an interesting spin on the form. This film will probably appeal to those who enjoyed "The Usual Suspects" or "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." A deliciously wicked cinematic sleight of hand that is destined for cult film status.
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on February 14, 2016
This is Paul McGuigan's second movie that I've watched. The first was Wicker park<AKA While you wer falling in Love>.
Both films have exactly the same way of storytelling way. Moving from present and passed. Just like one of Christopher Nolan's movie <Following><Memento><The Pristage> or Bryan Singer's <Usual Suspect>.
When I saw Wicker Park, I was really surprised how he arranded the story and at the end everything fit to the complete ending. I had to order the dvd at once after watching the moive at the theater.
But this one, because I've watched his other work already, it was like dejavu, even cliche for me. The director wanted to show how clever he is.
Now there are two kinds of cliche.
One is to make audience friendly and make them comfortable. After all, they want to watch movies to see that is quite familier to them.
The other is a bad cliche which is a boring one. Like making the audiene feel like watching the same movie twice. Why paying money to watch same movie again?
This movie was later.
At the beginning, Josh Hartnett stays at his friend's apartment and his friend happens to owe money from both part-two of the city's most rival crime bosses: The Rabbi and The Boss. Now both sides are having a fight and they both wants Josh because they think he is the one (Actually he he not)
The BOSS first kidnapps him and tells him to kill someone instead of paying back his money.
Josh has no alternate way but to do so.
There is another killer who is played by Bruce Willis who is hired by both sides, The Rabbi and The Boss. Who is kind of mystery.

After the 3/5 of the movie, everything slowly begins to be revealed.
In the past Bruce Willis was hired from Rabbi and had to kill Josh's family. But instead of killing the kid Josh, he raised him.
Now that he grown up, he teams up with Josh.

Now all of a sudden Josh kidnaps The Rabbi and The Boss and kills them both. Revenge done.

The story seems pretty simple but the director/ writer mixed up all the story and slowly, I mean very slowly reveals them.
At the end they all fit together completly. Nothing is unsolved. and the audiences are leaving with happy face.
That's why this moive has such a high score at imdb.
Sadly the director never had a good score at the boxoffice nor made a lot of movies. The mostly made TV movies and worked for hand full of films only.
But I still remember his good film Wicker Park.
This movie is not a masterpiece like USUAL SUSPECT. But it is worth watching.
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VINE VOICEon January 11, 2007
You don't want the kids to see this movie. It is very violent with a lot of killings. (Also a couple of short nude scenes.) The movie starts with a brutal killing with a big splatter of blood and guts on a car window. The movie makes no sense at all in the first few minutes, but as it proceeds all the loose ends are eventually tied up and it all makes perfect sense by the end. The ending (which I won't reveal) is somewhat a surprise, although you can kind of figure it out somewhat before it is fully revealed and perhaps early on. I don't usually like this type of movie, but it was interesting enough to keep me watching to see how the hero was going to get out of the serious predicament that he was in. The top cast keeps it interesting too, but probably not the best performances for any of them. Lucy Liu seemed a bit weak in her role and too predictably ends up in bed with the hero, but her performance is okay. A great rental for adults. Would you want to own it? Perhaps not because once the surprise ending is revealed it probably is not as interesting to watch again.
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on June 16, 2015
Lucky Number Slevin is one of those movies where the plot drives the characters rather than the other way around--the story concerns a seemingly innocent but very unlucky young man named Slevin (a surprisingly good Josh Hartnett) who is mistaken for someone else by two vicious gangsters who both think he owes them a lot of money. The first is The Boss played by a clearly enjoying himself Morgan Freeman. The second is The Rabbi (they call him that because he's a rabbi) played more seriously by Ben Kingsley. They are former partners turned enemies that live in penthouse apartments across the street from each other which they never leave for fear of being killed.

Since the plot of Lucky Number Slevin is nearly the whole show I won't reveal anything else but this is extremely enjoyable if you like self-consciously clever crime films with snappy dialogue. Josh Hartnett and Lucy Lui turn out to be really good at delivering that dialogue--Lui's rapid-fire patter seems to be at least partly inspired by Rosalind Russell from His Girl Friday and the normally stern actress has never been looser or more likable than she is here.

The older vets--Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley and Stanley Tucci are all solid, although their characters are little more than chess pieces in the intricate plotting of Jason Smilovic's screenplay. Director Paul McGuigan previously made another twisty film starring Josh Hartnett called Wicker Park that didn't really work--director McGuigan later admitted he didn't know what was going on in the script and if the director doesn't where does that leave the audience? Lucky Number Slevin partly feels like McGuigan and Hartnett trying to redeem themselves after the the failure of Wicker Park--if that's the case then mission accomplished.

Amazon's HD streaming print looks great.
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on August 12, 2015
I believe this is a send up of Hollywood crime movies with close affinities to Pulp Fiction. As such it has the extremely difficult task of being believable/interesting as a crime drama and as a send up of the same. Pulp Fiction pulled it off. This movie almost pulled it off for me. For some it will pull it off. For the "typical" movie viewers it will not (they probably wouldn't make it past the first 30 minutes), but that does not make it a bad movie. You just have to be prepared for and want to see this type of movie.

A seeming young American everyman with preternatural calm has a series of unlucky events that result in him becoming a pawn in a game between two vicious crime lords. Along the way he meets a nice young woman. But everything is definitely not what it seems. The actors, some of the big names, are very good, albeit in not very demanding roles. The plot generally makes sense (that is, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief and accept what is happening as possible in this make-believe world) with one glaring exception (it's the last twist).

The problems given the genre. First and foremost, too much dialogue that is not nearly clever enough. Second, there is too much explanation of the plot and pseudo plots. These problems probably arise because the plot is too complicated. For those who don't like blood and violence, don't watch it. Don't even think about it.
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