Sexy Beast

Sexy Beast

Sexy Beast is a 2000 British film directed by Jonathan Glazer, starring Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian McShane. It was Glazer's debut feature film. He had previously been a director of music videos, such as Rabbit in Your Headlights for British electronica group UNKLE, and commercials for companies such as Guinness and Levi.

The film earned Kingsley an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2004 the magazine Total Film named Sexy Beast the 15th greatest British film of all time.

The film is rated 18 by the BBFC for Very Strong Language, Strong Bloody Violence, Strong Sex and Sex References.

Plot

Ex-con and expert safe-cracker Gary "Gal" Dove has served his time behind bars and blissfully retired to a Spanish villa with his beloved wife Deedee. He also has the company of longtime friend Aitch and his wife Jackie. Their idyll is shattered by the arrival of an old criminal associate, the angry and unstable Don Logan.

Don is intent on enlisting Gal in a bank heist back in London. As Gal meekly but stubbornly refuses Don's many requests to join the heist, Don becomes enraged by Gal's happiness and feels that the group has abandoned him. After revealing a lingering infatuation with Jackie, he makes several unwelcome attempts at reconnecting with her. As the confrontations between Don and Gal escalate, Don grows violent. He hurls torrents of abuse at the group while at the same time spitefully painting himself as a victim of their infidelity. After finally storming away in a rage, Don is kicked off his plane and returns to Gal's home with the intention of murdering him. Instead, Deedee surprises him with a shotgun. The entire group combines their efforts, first beating and shooting him, and finally crushing his skull.

With Don dead, Gal is forced to return to London to perform the job as if nothing has happened. Teddy Bass, a powerful crimelord, has organised the heist after learning about the bank from Harry, a banker who had sex with him at an orgy. Gal feigns ignorance over Don's whereabouts, but Teddy is immediately suspicious. Gal now fears both getting arrested by the police and being murdered by Teddy. Since Don's arrival, Gal's anxiety has manifested in strange dreams where he is menaced by a humanoid rabbit, which echoes a disastrous hunting trip earlier in the film.

During the heist, Teddy's gangsters use surface-supplied diving gear and drill into Harry's bank vault from a pool in a neighboring bath house. The water from the pool floods the vault and shorts its security system. While helping to empty the vault's safe deposit boxes, Gal secretly pockets a pair of large diamond earrings. After the job is successfully completed, Teddy forces Gal to accompany him to kill Harry. Though Teddy has realized the truth about Don's murder, he does not care enough to retaliate by killing Gal. Instead, he forces Gal to forfeit his share of the loot and banishes him from London.

Gal returns safely home and his paradise is restored. Deedee wears the diamond earrings that Gal stole, and it is revealed that Don is buried under the double-heart insignia at the bottom of their pool, which had been damaged by a falling boulder just prior to Don's arrival.

Cast

  • Ray Winstone as Gary "Gal" Dove. Gal is a retired safe-cracker who used to be a prominent criminal and minor celebrity in the London underworld, loved by everyone and a popular figure. He was involved in a heist that went wrong and spent 9 years of his life in prison, taking the full rap for the job. Once out, he married DeeDee, the love of his life, and moved to Spain, wanting never to have anything to do with crime again. Although there are strong hints that Gal used to be a "hard man" back in his old life, he is now a very private person and never shows much aggression, until the final confrontation with Don Logan.
  • Ben Kingsley as Don Logan. Don is a foul-mouthed, psychopathic and violent man who is part of the London underworld. He is a recruiter who puts crack teams together to do various jobs. A very determined man who will go to any length to make things go his way, Don uses anything and everything in his power to convince Gal to return to London to do a final job. Ben Kingsley, on the DVD commentry, calls Don "The Unhappiest Man in the World" and in several interviews, Kingsley has claimed that he based the character of Don Logan largely on his grandmother, whom he called, " A vile and extremely unpleasant woman."
  • Ian McShane as Teddy Bass. The head of a criminal empire in London. According to an interview with Ian McShane, Teddy controls a loose-knit underworld gang who does a robbery about once every 5-10 years. Teddy is a meticulous planner and frequently uses the services of Don Logan to put his teams together for jobs. Like Don, Teddy has no hesitation in using violence, and shoots Harry in the head in cold blood.
  • Amanda Redman as Deedee. Gal's beloved wife, DeeDee has also left her old life behind her. She was a porn-star and used to have the nick-name "Dirty DeeDee." Don later tells Gal that old films of DeeDee are still very popular and it is also heavily implied that it was very hard-core footage. Although DeeDee is fearful of Don, according Ben Kingsley on the DVD commentary, Don is also scared of DeeDee, as is shown when Don storms into Gal's bedroom and violently attacks him, only stopping and leaving after DeeDee screams at him.
  • James Fox as Harry, a bisexual banker who is overconfident of his vault's security.
  • Cavan Kendall as Aitch, Gal's friend, a retired gangster who spins humorous stories.
  • Julianne White as Jackie, Aitch's wife, who had a brief fling with Don three years before the film is set.
  • Álvaro Monje as Enrique, a Spanish boy who helps Gal out around the house.

Reception

The film has received generally favorable reviews including critical acclaim for its performances and characterisation. As of February 4, 2008, the film has received an aggregate rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, deemed Fresh by the website. Another popular aggregate review website, Metacritic, has given it a rating of 79% as of February 4, 2008, a rating which classifies the film as receiving Generally favorable reviews by the website's rating standards. It received high praise from writers at the San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly, Slate, Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times, but was panned by Stephen Hunter of Washington Post who described some of the film's moments as "Ben Kingsley spraying saliva-lubricated variants of the F-word into the atmosphere like anti-aircraft fire for 10 solid minutes. It was also described as "often enjoyable" but "massively uneven" by Variety.

DVD Release

In 2008, Channel 4 re-released Sexy Beast on DVD, including a new commentary track with Sir Ben Kingsley and Jeremy Thomas, the film's producer.

References

External links

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