Published Apr 01, 2006Premiering earlier this year at Sundance, Scottish director Paul McGuigan's Lucky Number Slevin is a well-intentioned but incredibly flawed attempt at mainstream filmmaking that looks and feels like its "independent.
Borrowing from everyone from Hitchcock to Tarantino, the film thinks its considerably cleverer than it actually is. The plot is full of holes and its twist-and-turn narrative has so many "shocking revelations that it seems like half the film is spent explaining what the hell is going on. And, in the end, its doubtful the audience really cares.
What is going on, or so the viewer is led to believe, is that a case of mistaken identity has Slevin (Josh Hartnett) fall right into the middle of a heated rivalry between two NYC crime bosses: the Boss (Morgan Freeman) and the Rabbi (Ben Kingsley). This rivalry, which involves the Rabbis son (a homosexual dubbed "Fairy," who provides a large amount of the film's many "are they being offensive? moments), is being closely followed by a Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci) and a legendary assassin (Bruce Willis). As one might imagine, not everything is as it appears to be, and Lucky Number Slevin creates itself through the various betrayals of the interpersonal relationships of these characters.
Highly stylised with occasionally decent dialogue, Slevin is not a total disaster. Hartnett and Lucy Lui (who plays his love interest) are very charming in their roles and easily rise above the material. However, Willis and Freeman need to consider not playing the same character over and over, because no matter how hard they try, theres little room left for variation. Or at least they should find a better movie to play the same characters in, because Slevin is no Pulp Fiction, no matter how much it tries to be.
Just because a film is produced by the Weinsteins, plays at Sundance and has a ton of characters whose stories are woven together in a time-and-space jumping narrative does not give it "indie cred. Though technically an independent film, the final product of Lucky Number Slevin is as mainstream as it gets. (Alliance Atlantis)