Lucky Number Slevin

A Witty Action-Thriller

Main Cast: Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman

Director: Paul McGuigan

Plot Summary: A man is mistaken for someone else and must navigate his way through a gang war while keeping his own skin intact.

05This is a stylish action-thriller, one part North By Northwest and the rest a compilation of a number of gang war/assassination/man on the run films. All done with a bit of class, at least in the dialogue department.

The movie begins with a slideshow of images, of people we do not know in places we’ve not visited as yet. Two strangers meet on a station platform, the older telling a tale of gambling and murder to the younger. What’s the point? Well, that comes later when everything is explained.

We meet our main character (Hartnett), then, who is not having a good day. He’s lost his job, apartment, and girlfriend, so decides to head out of town to New York to meet with a friend and pick up the pieces of his life. His bad luck continues as he is mugged during the walk to his friend’s apartment, and when he finally does arrive, the friend is nowhere to be found.

He meets up with a lively young woman (Liu) who wants to borrow sugar. A brief upswing in his prospects, but his luck continues after she leaves. Two men bust into the apartment, looking for the owner, but take him instead. He meets up with The Boss (Freeman), a cultured man who never-the-less is into some bad things. He is at war with the Rabbi (Sir Ben Kingsley), for reasons explained, and wants our hero to do some work for him.

As you may guess, our hero does manage to get hired by the Rabbi as well. If you have to walk a tightrope, you may as well do it over jagged rocks. Our hero is rather low-key about his situation, noted by his neighbor. She decides to help him out, and after a dinner date and energetic sex, their friendship is sealed.

He needs friends. The Boss and the Rabbi have their own forces, and the police show up and start hassling our hero. And there is a mysterious Mr. Smith lurking in the background, a top assassin.

All this comes together in a witty tale, nicely told. There is violence, especially at the end of the flick, when everything does come together. I obviously won’t spoil that, but I will say that the slideshow at the beginning may have some bearing on everything that follows.

This was a solid action/thriller with excellent dialogue and memorable characters. I recommend this one for a good evening’s entertainment, with enough to think about to spill over into work the next day.

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