Sunday, November 19, 2006

The DVD Beat: Lucky Number Slevin

I remember how after movies like "Pulp Fiction" and "The Usual Suspects" came out in the middle nineties and wowed the fuck out of us, we were given a slew of mediocre and forgettable copycats. Moves like "Killing Zoe," "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead," and "Destiny Turns on the Radio" were being thrust upon us in what seemed like a weekly basis for the next two years or so. I guess writer, Jason Smilovic decided it had been long enough without one of these "Pulp Fiction" esque films, and so we get "Lucky Number Slevin."

"Slevin" has the distinction of being released a decade after all of the forgettable tripe, and so maybe we can forgive it a little bit. Josh Hartnett (Who I can just never take seriously) is Slevin, a guy who's in the wrong place at the wrong time. He gets mistaken for his friend, Nick Fisher, who owes a couple of pretty big gambling debts to the big bosses in town, and they have come to collect. The Boss (Morgan Freeman) and the Rabbi (Ben Kingsley) are two warring big wigs who decide to use Slevin as a way to get back at each other. Bruce Willis fits into the mix as a mysterious assassin known as Mr. Good Cat, who is probably using Slevin as well in the grand scheme of things. There's a big revealing twist at the end where everything starts making more sense, but getting to it at times seems like a bit of a chore.

I actually kind of enjoyed this film on a purely "popcorn movie" basis. Smilovic has done some great writing on some underseen and too quickly canceled television shows: "Karen Sisco" and this season's "Kidnapped." And I think he's got a great movie script in him. He does a decent job here, but so much of the dialouge comes off as more "Cute" than brilliant. We get a lot of exchanges like: "Why is he called the Rabbi?" "Because he's a Rabbi." "Oh, of course."

The cast is great. Along with the big names I've already mentioned, we also have Lucy Liu, Stanley Tucci, and Mykelti Williamson (Who's character seems like a son that Bubba had in "Forrest Gump" but we never heard about.). They give the dialouge a lot more of a clever twist to it than it deserves. The movie also moves along at a great pace, and the ending, if a little predictable, wraps every thing up well.

But despite all of it's good points, I still couldn't really look at this as more than just a mild diversion. I think for people that don't watch as many films as the likes of me and Chris will enjoy this. And I also think younger adults who were too young to get in on the whole "Pulp Fiction" craze will find this to be imaginative and well worth their time. This is just one of those films that tastes great going down, but if you never eat it again, you'll probably be none the wiser. Do with that what you will. It's not going to give you a cavity, so I guess that's a plus.


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