"LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN"
by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Josh Hartnett as SLEVIN KELEVRA
Bruce Willis as GOODKAT
Lucy Liu as LINDSEY
Morgan Freeman as THE BOSS
Sir Ben Kingsley as THE RABBI
Stanley Tucci as DETECTIVE BRIKOWSKI
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Directed by: Paul McGuigan
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Prior to the release of “Lucky Number Slevin,” I hadn’t heard much about the film. Of course, after its release, I didn’t hear much about the film either because it came and went at the cinema with little fanfare. It barely opened in the top five and fell pretty quickly after that.
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After getting a chance to watch it on DVD, I think it’s kind of a shame it wasn’t received better. “Lucky Number Slevin” is a great little ensemble piece that came out of nowhere. Sometimes ensemble pieces aren’t as good as the sum of their parts, but in this film, things really seen to work out.
The film stars Josh Hartnett as Slevin Kelevra, a guy visiting a friend from out of town. However, when he comes to his friend’s home, he finds him gone. After a brief visit from the plucky next door neighbor Lindsay (Lucy Liu), Slevin is paid a visit by some thugs who drag him to see The Boss (Morgan Freeman). Slevin insists that The Boss has the wrong guy, but that doesn’t stop The Boss from giving him the order to execute a rival crime boss’s son.
Soon, Slevin’s little trip to the Big Apple turns into a case of mistaken identity. The rival crime boss known as The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley) is also on his heels, claiming that Slevin owes him money. At home, Lindsay tries to help Slevin unravel the mystery, and Slevin reluctantly agrees to do the hit.
“Lucky Number Slevin” is extremely well put together. Using innovative film techniques that actually propel the story rather than just serve as flash, director Paul McGuigan does a lot to redeem himself from his last film, the wretched “Wicker Park.”
Josh Hartnett, who is also working to redeem himself from “Wicker Park,” fits in well with this film. Normally, I don’t like him as an actor, but he manages to find something inside the character of Slevin to make me actually like him. It also helps that Lucy Liu is exceedingly adorable in her part as well.
There are plenty of twists and turns in this film, although they aren’t entirely unpredictable. Don’t think too hard when seeing this movie because you’ll spoil the surprises. The story sometimes shows its hand too much and too early, but overall the snappiness of the picture keeps things moving that I wasn’t so bothered by knowing what would happen.
Other strong performances come from Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley, who share a well constructed, intense and gripping stand-off near the end. Bruce Willis also performs well as the seasoned hit man, and you can’t forget the always excellent Stanley Tucci as the detective trying to thwart any assassination.
This DVD comes with a nice selection of bonus features, including two commentary tracks. The first is given by actors Hartnett and Liu along with writer Jason Smilovic. The second commentary track features McGuigan flying solo.
Other features include a making-of featurette, deleted scenes and a darker, alternate ending, all with director commentary.
If you like crime thrillers with a bit of sass and attitude, “Lucky Number Slevin” is a decent flick to check out. I will admit, I was impressed.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1. Widescreen (2.35:1). French language track. Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.