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Sexy Beast

4 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews

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(Mar 12, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Riveting in his intensity, Ben Kingsley delivers "his best performance ever" (Premiere Magazine) in this high-voltage crime thriller that crackles with chilling style and wit. A savage gangstere name Don Logan (Kingsley) is met with resistance when he tries to recruit a retired pal (Ray Winstone) for "one last job." But Logan just won't take no for an answer...

Special Features

  • Featurette
  • TV spots

Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane, Amanda Redman, James Fox
  • Directors: Jonathan Glazer
  • Writers: David Scinto, Louis Mellis
  • Producers: Denise O'Dell, Hercules Bellville, Jeremy Thomas, Mark Albela, Paul Webster
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: March 12, 2002
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UV33
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,256 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sexy Beast" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bruce Kendall VINE VOICE on May 27, 2003
Format: DVD
Lovers of bright, airy, farcical British humor are apparently not Jonathan Glazer's target audience. If you enjoy the occasional foray into the dank, dark underbelly of grimy black comedy, however, this should be right up your alley.
No plot spoilers here, but would say that there are certain parallels between what befalls the evil, soul-chomping antagonist, Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) and what eventually happens to the equally insensitive British mobster, Albert Spica (Michael Gambon) in Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Kingsley is definitely the menacing lynchpin holding this movie together, though Ian McShane is not far behind him in his portrayal of a believably evil crime lord. Ray Winstone is an inspiration to middle-aged, beer-bellied Buddhas everywhere. Amanda Redman is a revelation as Gal's ex-porn star spouse. She plays the slow boil to perfection. Julian White is also superb playing the wife of Gal's slightly dim buddy, Aitch.
Which brings us to one of the minor qualifiers I have to warn viewers about. Unless you've grown up in one of the grubbier, East End sections of London, a lot of the dialogue is going to be incomprehensible to you. This is particularly true of Aitch (Cavan Kendall, Kay Kendall's brother). I would definitely recommend the DVD, as opposed to the VHS purchase, as the DVD has a subtitle feature. I can honestly say I was lost without it, before I utilized the function. Kendall also mumbles his lines, as do several other characters. Mumbling and thick, cockney accents do not make for easy comprehension on the part of American viewers.
This film has a workmanlike plot, with strong performances from all hands. It's great, gritty, black comedy.
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Format: DVD
On the commentary track for "Sexy Beast" director Jonathan Glazer reduces the film to the level of a Greek myth wherein once upon a time there was a man who thought he was happy and the gods sent him the unhappiest man on earth. It is the later figure, the gangster Don Logan, performed by Ben Kingsley in an Oscar nominated role, that dominates every moment on screen where he either appears or simply is being talked about, but the former, Ray Winstone as "retired" safecracker Gary "Gal" Dove, is a compelling, but much more subtle, character as well. Gal is living the good live in his villa in Spain, sunning himself by the pool, when something happens that we soon understand is clearly a warning shot from the gods. Gal is happy in his retirement, married to the woman he loves (Amanda Redman), who happens to be a former porn star. Then word comes than Don is on his way with a offer that Gal intends to refuse. However, nobody says "no" to Don Logan.
The scenes between Gal and Don in this script by Louis Mellis and David Scinto strike me as what Harold Pinter would produce if he was writing about gangsters and went overboard on the profanity. A conversation with Don is taking your life into your hands and Gal knows it, quietly dancing around the fatal rejection for as long as he can. Kingsley's Don is one of the scariest men ever to appear in a film, although I am not sure how much of that has to be the sheer shock at the idea that it is "Gandhi" on the screen who is launching into foul-mouthed tirades and radiating danger with every look and action (all without ever having a gun in his hand, I should add). This performance is astounding, and if it is unexpected that is only because we have taken Sir Ben for granted for a long time.
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Format: DVD
There's a line in a Monty Python sketch about the effect a criminal has on his underlings: "I've seen men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug." That's the effect the news that Don Logan is coming to town has on retired criminal Gal. Gal's settled into his relaxing, lazy days under the Spanish sun, until a boulder the size of a small house flies over his head and rolls into his treasured swimming pool. Can you say "symbolic foreshadowing," boys and girls?...because Don Logan's about to slam into Gal's leisurely life with all the force and violence of a landslide, sent to recruit Gal out of retirement for one last heist, and absolutely NOT taking "no" for an answer .
In a movie where much of the first half consists of conflict through dialogue (it's almost a stage play in set-up), the performances are key, and "Sexy Beast" has no weak links. Ray Winstone has the unenviable task of holding his own against Ben Kingsley, and succeeds uncannily without resorting to caricature. His fear is palpable--you can almost smell the sweat at his being cornered like a rabbit with no way to break out. Even perennial TV guest star Ian McShane excels in the role of a slick and cunning criminal boss, a performance that breaks out of his usual pattern and won't remind you in the least of Lovejoy (McShane's most famous character, the genial art forger/detective).
But the standout performance is, of course, Ben Kingsley.
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