Retro Review: Lucky Number Slevin

Are you one of those movie-goers who is annoyed when a film is too cheeky? You know those kinds of films where you never get caught up with the characters because they all think they are so smart. Well I had that problem with “Lucky Number Slevin” and not to mention I guessed the film’s final twist about five minutes in.

The film is basically a case of mistaken identity as Slevin (Josh Hartnett) is mistaken for his friend Nick who seems to be caught up with two rival crimelords (Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley). It turns out that these two mobsters have been at war for decades and that one of them wants Slevin’s friend Nick to kill the other’s son. Is Slevin a patsy in a much larger plot? Can Slevin get away from these mobsters before he gets killed? Furthermore, what is it with this other assassin (Bruce Willis) shadowing Slevin’s every move?

As I watched “Lucky Number Slevin” I felt that it was like someone amateur was trying to be a Quentin Tarrantino or Elmore Leonard but never really grasped the full concept of that kind of character development. Sure the film has a lot of really good dialogue, Hartnett is adequate as the film’s hero and the almost robot quality of Bruce Willis is fun to watch but where is the magic and depth you get from watching this kind of film.

When watching this kind of film you need characters to do just more than spit clever dialogue and go through the motions. You need to understand what makes each of them tick and the dialogue should reflect that. Just because it’s clever doesn’t mean it does the character justice. I guess the only character in the film this probably doesn’t apply to is Slevin because he is a smart ass and his dialogue is perfect for that persona. As for anyone else, it kind of left me scratching my head.

Like M. Night Shyamalan’s 2004 disaster “The Village”, I guessed every twist and turn and where the film was going from almost the beginning. I wanted the film to surprise me and show me a twist that was going to surprise me but it never did.

If you can get swept up in the film and ignore the fact that it is trying to be something that it just isn’t then I can say you will like this film. But if you’re a movie junkie like me watch “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” instead.

(2.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer

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