Josh Hartnett as Slevin
Lucy Liu as Lindsey
Bruce Willis as Goodkat
Morgan Freeman as The Boss
Sir Ben Kingsley as The Rabbi
Stanley Tucci as Brikowski
Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett) may just be the unluckiest man on Earth. Five minutes after arriving in New York to visit a friend and forget that he’s been fired, his apartment has been eaten by a rare strain of termite, his girlfriend is sleeping with another man, he’s mugged, his wallet stolen, kidnapped by a mob boss (Morgan Freeman) believing him to be his friend, who it turns out owes a huge amount of money in gambling debts, so that he can pay off the debt that isn’t his by killing the son of a rival gang lord (Sir Ben Kingsley). And then things get worse for him.
“Lucky Number Slevin” is a very clever film, probably too clever for its own good.
It has a lot going for it; in particular extremely witty and pointed banter and engaging performances from its cast. Hartnett’s got cool disaffectedness down to a science and Liu has never been better or more engaging then she is as Lindsey, Slevin’s Girl Friday. She brings a strong emotional component to what could have been an entertaining but empty film. Freeman and Kingsley chew up the scenery as the opposing gangsters – sometimes going on a bit too long but always fun to watch, particularly Kingsley – and Bruce Willis is Bruce Willis.
The meat of the film is Slevin’s predicament, his reaction to it, and what (if anything) he’s going to be able to do to get out of it as he and we try to figure out what the heck is going on. The only real problems are in the amount of story squeezed into this fairly efficient film and where it’s put – the opening prologue runs on far too long and there is a lot of exposition squeezed into the end of the last act; more than is really needed as every unanswered question is answered in the last few minutes, questions that might have been better left unanswered.
It’s awful fun to watch, though. Director Paul McGuigan (“Wicker Park”) has a brilliant eye and along with production designer François Séguin and cinematographer Peter Sova, has turned out quite easily the most well-composed film of the year, so far.
It’s funny and well put together and while it does occasionally out-clever itself, it’s still very good.
“Lucky Number Slevin” is rated R for strong violence, sexuality, and language.