Monday, July 20, 2009

Lucky Number Slevin - April 2006

First off, "Lucky Number Slevin" is a lousy title for a really good movie. Josh Hartnett plays a guy who is mistaken for a deadbeat gambler and told to pay up or else. It’s a classic Hitchcockian mistaken identity plot device but the story twists halfway through to become more of a hardboiled mystery story. In fact, I guessed the ending before the movie revealed it because I recently read a mystery novel with a similar plot.

The first time I saw it, I thought the dialogue was a bit mannered and the reveal of the twist was too self-congratulatory, but then I spent the next two days thinking about all the details of story and the characters. When a movie stays with you for two days, that’s something. Someone—a David Mamet fan, no doubt—put a lot of thought into "Lucky Number Slevin." It’s violent and bloody, but the dialogue is crisp and the plot is complex but not dense. It’s also full of interesting visual details having nothing to do with the plot. It’s too bad "Lucky Number Slevin" didn’t get a better title.

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