Title: Sexy Beast
Country: UK, Spain
Language: English, Spanish
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Music: Roque Baños
Cinematography: Ivan Bird
Let’s assume you are a casting director, there are two roles: one is Gal, a retired safe-cracker enjoying the life of Riley in a beatific villa in Spain with his wife and friends; and the other is his former criminal associate Don Logan, a browbeating, invective-pelting psychopath who wills to recruit him to a new job and will not take no for answer. Then you are given two candidates: Mr. Gandhi himself, Sir. Ben Kingsley and a bovver heavy Ray Winstone, the choice is rather self-evident.
However, that is not the case for UK scenester Jonathan Glazer when he begins to work on his feature film debut SEXY BEAST, who does the obverse, fingers Mr. Winstone for the hapless Gal and Mr. Kingsley for the rivetingly menacing Don Logan, a delectable volte-face rewardingly earns him an Oscar nomination, meantime, Winstone also magnificently brings about an incarnation very different from his usual image, a rough diamond type, graced by the lovey-dovey intimacy between him and his wife DeeDee Dove (Redman), an erstwhile porn star.
It is a taut iteration in the UK gangster genre, the story is nothing too sparkling, it is Glazer’s swift and impressive execution takes the full credit. The harbinger arrives in its opening, a boulder falls right in into the swimming pool of Gal’s villa (which betrays a sloppy CGI burnished effort), while he is sunbathing under the blistering heat, this portends an impending threat which will disrupt the placidity and imperil those who cannot get away, Don Logan is coming to visit, and he will not be in a pleasant mood if he knows that Gal determines to decline his very generous offer. So sparks fly, but not without a droll war of (swearing) words and things will inevitably get physical, Kingsley’s intimidating presence deviously pays off the looming dread simply elicited by the mention of his name, and after an ironical turn of events, he does manage to press-gang Gal into partaking in the action however reluctant he is, to break into a bank vault via water pressure, The suspense isn’t swelling during the action, but after, when the head of the criminals, Teddy Bass (McShane, another great villain, less showier but infallibly lethal), a character turns out to be far more ruthless than Don Logan, bluffly tells Gal that “he knows what they did in Spain” and promises he will come to visit in the due future. Well, why there isn’t a sequel to this?
Parlaying his reputation as an eclectic music video director into this breakout debut, Glazer has concocted up a stunning-looking fare seeped with robust characterization, pulsating rhythm of montage, scintillating chromatic disposition and optimal pop taste, ultimately transmogrified it into a beguiling conglomerate of romanticism, perversity absurdity and bloody gallows humor like an arch cautionary take: there is no easy way of going straight, so think twice before you get your feet wet!
ps. accompany pieces: Glazer’s UNDER THE SKIN (2013, 8.2/10); Guy Ritchie’s LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (1998, 7.9/10), SNATCH (2000, 7.1/10).