Lucky Number Slevin, Giving Gangsters Another Shot

A series of unfortunate events arise in the film, Lucky Number Slevin (2006), directed by Paul McGuigan. Lucky Number Slevin takes you on a multilayered journey that makes you wonder if you’re eating tiramisu (you really need those coffee layers to pay attention to all the details). Through a case of stolen identity, Slevin Kelebra (Josh Hartnett) finds himself tucked into the street between the penthouses of two rival mob bosses.

Lucky Number Slevin is a mix of crime, mystery, and drama, with a dash of comedy for good measure. That is, if you enjoy dry-sarcastic humor. Paul McGuigan wastes no time delving into he story with, you guessed it, a murder. However, he lets the audience find their way about the movie by not forcing the audience along on the trip with narration. Instead, he allows for events to just flow with little quirks of dark comedy. Slevin and Lindsey’s (Lucy Lu) interactions are particularly hilarious as they try to figure out what is going on with good advice from Columbo.

Like many other movies concerning gangsters, the first moral of the story is: don’t get involved kid. Meddling in the affairs of mobsters is always messy and in this case there is a maze for added measure. Another moral that would be seen in the film is that communication is key. Sometimes misunderstandings happen and you get into fights with others, that doesn’t mean that you have to stew in hatred of one another forever. Don’t be like the Montagues and Capulets, that’s no way to live.

In this case in particular I would have to say that there is a mix of importance between the characters and the story. There are certain characteristics you could get from any character but there is a certain spark that some bring to the table in this film. Lindsey in particular was absolutely delightful in her role and serve as a nice contrast to all the mayhem that was occurring around Slevin. The plot itself is key to keep the audience watching, even if it’s 3 a.m. and they should really be sleeping. The film is a bit of a yarn ball and it is so satisfying when you finally reach the end and everything makes sense.

I really enjoyed about this movie was the sequencing that the director brought to the movie. The way that characters paralleled each other and the way scenes were revised with a different angle to show a completely different story was truly entertaining. In the beginning, we don’t see the perpetrator of the scene, which brings a nice tie in later when Lindsey and Slevin speak about who the best Blofeld villain is in the James Bond franchise. Slevin answers that it’s Anthony Dawson and that is when the villain is most effective, when you can’t see their face. It was such a clever tie-in I couldn’t help but laugh. In the beginning, this film elicits confusion, both in the action of the characters and in the question of time; however, as you go on patiently, everything is revealed in its own time.

This film’s main conflict of man vs. man really keeps it going. Whether it’s mob boss vs. mob boss, bystander vs. henchmen, or neighbor vs. neighbor, there is always someone fighting. This can be wearying to an extent, but it is also what keeps the story on its rails. If you do not want to keep up with a movie and a series of cat vs cat vs cat vs cat then I would not suggest you watch this movie. However, if you want a lot of action and a bit of a puzzle, you should take a look at this one.

Overall, this film weakest point has to be its dependence on a puzzle to keep the audience watching. I feel like if they worked a bit more on the depiction of some characters this film would have been a lot more successful. When you have actors like Morgan Freeman, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis and Lucy Lu, you really have to use their talents to the fullest. I also wish that there would have been a few interesting shots made to balance out the fact that they revisited scenes. A nice effect or angle could have gone a long way rather than just shooting the scene from the opposite direction.

Taking everything into account, this film was pretty successful. It made me gasp, laugh, made me sit still with anticipation, and it made me stare at the credits for a while thinking did they just do that? Because let me tell you, if I have to be quiet after a film is over to appreciate it and process everything I saw, you did a great job.

Morgan Freeman was very convincing in his role. He plays to his strength as a bit of an enigma and riddler with his conversation with Slevin when he introduces himself. He has a way of portraying characters in power that grabs your attention. It doesn’t matter if you believe his character is good or bad, he has a way of drawing you in with charisma and makes you keep your eyes on him until his scene ends.

I might be put in the corner of shame for this, but I really like this movie and would prefer watching this to a Scorsese film. This is because it balances comedy and the mob aspects quite well. The blood splatters are also way more believable than Scorsese’s pools of blood. I would have to give this movie a solid 7/10. Although this is not a movie I would have found on my own, it found its way to my view list.

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