One of the best things about Jonathan Glazer’s brightly colored gangster film “Sexy Beast” is that the title is completely irrelevant. No one in the movie is sexy, though I guess Ben Kingsley’s character could be considered a beast.
After that, the best things about “Sexy Beast” are delicious performances, amusing plot twists, and an enjoyable hearkening back to good old caper films (with just a touch of redeeming social value thrown in).
Gary “Gal” Dove (Ray Winstone) is a professional crook who has retired wealthy from a life of crime to a beautiful villa in Spain. He lives with his wife, Deedee (Amanda Redman), whom he adores, and lounges next to his swimming pool, drinking and bossing around his houseboy (Alvaro Monje). Gal and Deedee often have dinner with their friends, Aitch (Cavan Kendall) and Jackie (Julianne White). Life is good.
One night, Aitch and Jackie are absolutely panicked to inform Gal that Don Logan has called. Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) is an old crime associate who has been enlisted to put together a crack squad of thieves to burgle a bank back in London.
Don is a fearsome man; watch the terror in the foursome’s eyes just to talk about him. He has a shaved head and a goatee and far more strength than a slender man like him should have. Nonetheless, desiring to protect Deedee from the trouble that comes from illegal activities, Gal stands up to the steely-eyed psychopath and turns down the assignment. Don uses his powers of persuasion, and it would seem one more night “on the job” is in the cards, despite Gal’s protestations.
Kingsley is the one to watch here. His Don Logan is at once terrifying and amusing, his speech pattern distinct — he’ll say “no” eight times instead of just saying it once — and his demeanor deceptively calm. He’s the kind of lunatic who is reserved just enough to make you realize that when he explodes, it’s going to be big.
Aside from some thick British accents that are at times difficult to comprehend, “Sexy Beast” turns out thoroughly, violently enjoyable.
A- (; )