Lucky Number Slevin

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Lucky Number Slevin
Lucky Number Slevin Theater Poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul McGuigan
Written byJason Smilovic
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyPeter Sova
Edited byAndrew Hulme
Music byJ. Ralph
Production
companies
Distributed by
Release dates
  • February 24, 2006 (2006-02-24) (United Kingdom)
  • April 7, 2006 (2006-04-07) (Canada/United States)
Running time
110 minutes
Countries
  • Canada[1]
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget$27 million[2]
Box office$56.3 million[3]

Lucky Number Slevin (also known as The Wrong Man in Australia, The 7 Affair in Spain, Hitman for Hire in Mexico and Check-Mate in Brazil[4]) is a 2006 neo-noir action crime thriller film directed by Paul McGuigan and written by Jason Smilovic.[5][6] The film stars Josh Hartnett, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Lucy Liu, Stanley Tucci, and Bruce Willis. It revolves around an innocent man dragged into the middle of a war being plotted by two of New York City's rival crime bosses.

Plot[edit]

Two bookies are separately ambushed and murdered by unseen killers. In a bus terminal, a young man is approached by Goodkat, who tells the story of Max and the Kansas City Shuffle: two decades earlier, Max borrowed money from the mob to bet on a fixed horse race, only for the horse to die mid-race. To set an example to make sure nobody else would try to bet on a fixed race, the mob killed Max, his wife and his young son Henry. Goodkat describes the "Kansas City Shuffle", a misleading double bluff, then tricks and kills the young man, taking the body in a truck.

In New York City, Slevin Kelevra is staying in his friend Nick Fisher's apartment and, upon being visited by Nick's neighbor Lindsey, discusses Nick's disappearance and why his apartment was unlocked. Lindsey suggests that Nick might be missing and, after she leaves, Slevin is kidnapped by two henchmen, who take him to "The Boss". Mistaking Slevin for Nick, The Boss orders him to repay a large gambling debt or kill the son of his rival, "The Rabbi"; The Boss believes The Rabbi is responsible for assassinating his son (seen in the intro), and wants The Rabbi's homosexual son, Yitzchok "The Fairy", to be killed in revenge. Slevin returns to the apartment, but is kidnapped again, this time by two of The Rabbi's Jewish henchmen. Like The Boss, The Rabbi also mistakes Slevin for Nick, and also demands he repay a large gambling debt. Slevin tells The Boss he will kill Yitzchok. Concurrently with Slevin visiting the mob bosses, it becomes apparent Goodkat is somehow involved in both sides and is responsible for Nick's debts being called in, and that he plans to kill Slevin after Yitzchok dies and make it look like they both committed suicide.

Slevin is approached by Detective Brikowski, who is investigating The Boss and The Rabbi. Brikowski has also been informed that Goodkat is back in town for the first time in twenty years and thinks there is a connection between The Boss, The Rabbi, Goodkat, and Slevin. After pretending to be gay, Slevin gets invited to Yitzchok's apartment, where he and Goodkat kill Yitzchok and his bodyguards. The two then kidnap The Boss and The Rabbi, with both waking up restrained in The Boss's penthouse. Slevin appears and explains the overarching twist: Slevin is Henry, the son of the ill-fated Max, and the mobsters who killed Max were The Boss and The Rabbi. Goodkat is revealed as the assassin hired to kill young Henry, who after an attack of conscience took him in and raised him instead. After revealing his identity, Slevin suffocates The Rabbi and The Boss by taping plastic bags over their heads, killing them the same way they killed his father. Since Lindsey earlier photographed Goodkat while investigating Nick's disappearance, Goodkat shoots her to protect his identity.

While Brikowski is hunting for Slevin he gets a phone call from his boss and learns the meaning of the pseudonym Slevin Kelevra: "Lucky Number Slevin" was the horse his father had bet on, and "Kelevra" is Hebrew for bad dog, mirroring Goodkat's name. It is revealed that Brikowski murdered Slevin's mother to pay his own gambling debts twenty years ago. As he hears this story Brikowski resigns himself to his fate as Slevin, showing rage for the first time, appears in Brikowski's backseat and shoots him.

Some time later at the bus terminal Slevin is met by Lindsey, and it is revealed that Goodkat informed Slevin that he had to murder Lindsey because she had a picture of him. However, Slevin explained his true identity to Lindsey and helped fake her death. When Goodkat appears, aware of the deception, Slevin explains he had to save Lindsey and did not think Goodkat would understand. Since Goodkat had saved Slevin as a boy he states that he understands and agrees to leave Lindsey alone. Goodkat gives Slevin back his father's old watch and then disappears into the crowd. The movie flashes back twenty years to when Goodkat first spared young Henry, they drive away and Goodkat turns on the radio to a song titled "Kansas City Shuffle".

Cast[edit]

Release[edit]

Theatrical[edit]

For its US release on April 7, 2006, it was the first movie from The Weinstein Company to be distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as part of a three year distribution deal between Weinstein and MGM. The deal was terminated three months early in late 2008.

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD on September 12, 2006. and on Blu-ray November 8, 2008. To date the film has made $26,877,256 in home video sales, bringing its worldwide total to $83,186,137. This does not include rentals or Blu-ray sales. In addition to Blu-Ray and DVD this was one of the few films to be released on the failed HD-VMD format.[7]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Lucky Number Slevin opened in 1,984 theaters in North America and grossed $7,031,921, with an average of $3,544 per theater and ranking #5 at the box office. The film ultimately earned $22,495,466 domestically and $33,813,415 internationally for a total of $56,308,881, above its $27 million budget.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Lucky Number Slevin has received mixed reviews. As of October 2021, the film holds 52% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 153 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The critical consensus states "Trying too hard to be clever in a Pulp Fiction kind of way, this film succumbs to a convoluted plot, overly-stylized characters and dizzying set design."[8] The film also has a score of 53 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 36 critics indicating mixed or average reviews.[9] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[10]

Accolades[edit]

Directors Guild of Canada
  • Nominated: Outstanding Sound Editing – Feature Film
Milan International Film Festival
Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA
  • Nominated: Best Sound Editing for Music in a Feature Film
  • Nominated: Best Sound Editing for Sound Effects and Foley in a Foreign Film

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lucky Number Slevin (2006)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  2. ^ "Lucky Number Slevin (2006)". The Numbers. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Lucky Number Slevin". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  4. ^ "Trivia / Lucky Number Slevin". TV Tropesaccess-date=July 11, 2022.
  5. ^ "LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN (2006)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  6. ^ "Lucky Number Slevin". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved July 3, 2021.
  7. ^ The HD-VMD Conclusion - Uncovering the real stats behind this failed format, archived from the original on December 19, 2021, retrieved October 16, 2021
  8. ^ "Lucky Number Slevin". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 6, 2021. Edit this at Wikidata
  9. ^ "Lucky Number Slevin". Metacritic.
  10. ^ "Search for 'Lucky Number Slevin'". CinemaScore.

External links[edit]