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An unconventional take on the unstoppable gangster
on September 7, 2016
I remember being blown away the first time I saw The Limey in a theater, and it still holds up after all these years. Director Steven Soderbergh takes a fairly conventional, straight-up story of an ex-con come to the US to avenge/learn the truth about the death of his daughter, and fragments the narrative with fragments and short snippets that repeat over and over again, sometimes moving back, and sometimes moving forward. A critic noted that it's a striking evocation of the phenomenon of memory. After all, we rarely relive things in a straight line, but turn over elements and scenes repeatedly in our heads as we try to extract meaning from them. Add a steely-eyed performance by the great Terence Stamp in the title role, coupled with footage from his first collaboration with Ken Loach, add a terrific performance from Luis Guzmán as the unexpected Sancho sidekick, and Peter Fonda as the creepiest evocation of the sixties, and you have quite the viewing experience. The only downside is that it would have benefitted from more women, and some of the dialogue is embarrassingly sexist. Soderbergh would make up for this with Erin Brockovich, but this is worth a look.