April 11, 2006

"Lucky Number Slevin"

A clever but hideously violent gangster movie with an impressive supporting cast of Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman (playing a bad guy!), Ben Kingsley, and Stanley Tucci. Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu are better than you'd expect as the leads, too.

Freeman is "The Boss," the leader of a black mob. For 20 years he has been at war with his former partner Kingsley, "The Rabbi," the leader of a Hassidic mob. They live in penthouses across the street from each other behind three inches of bulletproof glass, and try to dream up ways to kill each other. Bruce Willis is the arch-hitman they both hire to get the other. It's a lot like the old "Spy vs. Spy" cartoon in Mad Magazine where the secret agent in the white trenchcoat and the secret agent in the black trenchcoat devise elaborate ways to blow each other up.

Unfortunately, "Lucky Number Slevin," while stylized almost to the point of surrealism, is almost never funny. It reminded me of Wes Anderson's movies like "The Royal Tenenbaums," where he unleashes prodigious amounts of creativity and whimsy but goes out of his way not to be funny. So, the characters aren't amusing and are horrifically unlikable, so the whole picture is distasteful.

By the way, I'm reviewing "Friends with Money," a chick flick "Sideways" with an impressive female case of Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener, and Joan Cusack in the next American Conservative.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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