Original film poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Glazer|
|Produced by||Jeremy Thomas|
|Written by||Louis Mellis
|Music by||Roque Baños|
|Edited by||John Scott
Sam Sneade, Louis Mellis David Scinto (Uncredited)
|Distributed by||Fox Searchlight Pictures|
Sexy Beast is a 2000 British-Spanish crime film and the directorial debut of Jonathan Glazer. Glazer had previously directed music videos and commercials for companies such as Guinness and Levi's. The film stars Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian McShane.
Ex-con and expert safe-cracker Gary "Gal" Dove (Ray Winstone) has served his time behind bars and happily retired to a Spanish villa with his beloved ex–porn star wife DeeDee (Amanda Redman). He also has the company of long-time best friend Aitch (Cavan Kendall) and his wife Jackie (Julianne White). Their serene life is shattered by the arrival of an old criminal associate, the sociopathic Don Logan (Ben Kingsley), who is intent on enlisting Gal in a bank heist back in London. Organising the heist is Teddy Bass (Ian McShane), a powerful crime lord, who has learned about the bank's vault from Harry (James Fox), the bank's chairman whom he met at an orgy.
Gal politely but firmly declines Logan's many demands to join the heist, but Logan will not back down. After revealing an obsessive infatuation with Jackie, Logan also makes several unwelcome attempts at reconnecting with her. Logan eventually grows furious, hurling torrents of verbal abuse at the group while at the same time spitefully painting himself as a victim of their betrayal. After storming away in a rage, Logan boards a plane back to London, only to be kicked off for refusing to put out his cigarette. Seething with hatred, Logan returns to Gal's home with menacing intentions, hitting a glass beer bottle into Gal's ear. DeeDee shoots Logan with a shotgun, incapacitating him. The four friends join in their efforts to kill him, first beating him, stamping on him, shooting him again, and finally crushing his skull.
Hoping to cover up Logan's murder, Gal returns to London to perform the job. When asked by Bass about Logan's whereabouts, Gal feigns ignorance and claims Logan had called him "from Heathrow". However, Bass is visibly suspicious, and Gal's anxieties mount.
During the heist, Bass' crew use surface-supplied diving gear to drill into Harry's bank vault from a pool in a neighbouring bath house. The water from the pool floods the vault and shorts its security system. While helping to empty the vault's safe deposit boxes, Gal secretly pockets a pair of large ruby earrings encrusted with diamonds. After the job is successfully completed, Gal's lack of celebration further raises Bass' suspicions. Bass offers Gal a ride to the airport, but along the way, stops by Harry's home. Inside, Bass kills Harry in cold blood and immediately and pointedly questions Gal again about Logan. Gal merely responds, "I'm not into this any more." Back in the car, Bass suggests he knows what happened to Logan, saying, "Spain, eh? I must drop in sometime. Pay my respects." He gives Gal £10 in payment for his services, tells him to get out of the car and drives away, leaving Gal to his own devices.
In the final scene, back in Spain, Gal is again home surrounded by his friends and by DeeDee, who is seen wearing the ruby-diamond earrings that he stole. It is also revealed that Logan lies buried under the double-heart insignia at the bottom of their pool.
- Ray Winstone as Gary "Gal" Dove, a retired safe-cracker who used to be a prominent criminal and minor celebrity in the London underworld, loved by everyone and a popular figure. He was involved in a heist that went wrong and spent nine years of his life in prison, taking the full rap for the job. Once out, he married DeeDee, the love of his life, and moved to Spain, wanting never to have anything to do with crime again. Although there are strong hints that he used to be a "hard man" back in his old life, he is now a very private person and never shows hostility, until the final confrontation with Don Logan.
- Ben Kingsley as Don Logan, a recruiter for the London underworld, who puts people together into teams to pull off various heists. A violent, intimidating sociopath, he uses everything in his power — from manipulation to outright violence — to convince Dove to return to London to do a final job. Kingsley, on the DVD commentary, calls Logan "The Unhappiest Man in the World" and in several interviews, has claimed that he based his performance largely on his grandmother, whom he called "A vile and extremely unpleasant woman".
- Ian McShane as Teddy Bass, the head of a criminal empire in London. According to an interview with McShane, Bass controls a loose-knit underworld gang that commits a robbery about once every five to ten years. He is a meticulous planner and frequently uses Logan's services to put his teams together for jobs. Like Logan, Bass does not hesitate to use violence, and shoots Harry in the head in cold blood.
- Amanda Redman as DeeDee Dove, Gal's beloved wife, a former porn star who is also trying to put her old life behind her. Logan later tells Dove that her old films are still very popular; it is also heavily implied that it was hard-core footage. According to Kingsley's DVD commentary, Logan is nearly as afraid of DeeDee as she is of him.
- James Fox as Harry, a bisexual banker who shows Bass the vault after having sex with him. Harry knows that Bass is after his vault, but believes that his bank is impregnable.
- Cavan Kendall as Aitch, Dove's best friend; he and his wife Jackie are happily married, which incurs Logan's envious wrath.
- Julianne White as Jackie, Aitch's wife, who had a brief fling with Logan three years before the film is set.
- Álvaro Monje as Enrique, a Spanish boy who helps Gal out around the house.
Sexy Beast was the beginning of a new phase for me of working with first time filmmakers. Jonathan Glazer was a television commercials director in the UK, and a wonderful talent. We were sent this script which he was attached to, and out came this wonderful film. It was very stimulating having a first time talent... The dialogue as you see in this film is exceptional. I had never read a script like it, and I thought, this has got to be made. It was very difficult to get insurance on the film actually. When the American studio bought the film, their legal department said: "You cannot make this." It has something like 300 uses of the word "cunt", and 400 "fucks", but somehow it passed the censorship and got out there.
The film has received very positive reviews, currently holding an aggregate rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 117 reviews. Another aggregate review website, Metacritic, has given it a rating of 79%, a rating which classifies the film as receiving "Generally favorable reviews" by the website's rating standards. It received high praise from writers at the San Francisco Chronicle, Entertainment Weekly, Slate, Rolling Stone and the Los Angeles Times, but was panned by Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post who described some of the film's moments as "Ben Kingsley spraying saliva-lubricated variants of the F-word into the atmosphere like anti-aircraft fire for 10 solid minutes." It was also described as "often enjoyable" but "massively uneven" by Variety.
Awards and honours
Ben Kingsley's performance received a majority of the accolades given to Sexy Beast, winning Best Supporting Actor awards from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Boston Society of Film Critics, Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, Florida Film Critics Circle, San Diego Film Critics Society, Southeastern Film Critics Association and the Toronto Film Critics Association. He also was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award (losing to Ian McKellen for his performance in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), a Golden Globe and an Academy Award (losing both to Jim Broadbent for his performance in Iris).
Original music by English electronic band South and also Spanish composer/saxophonist Roque Baños. Dean Martin's version of "Sway" accompanies the film's end credits. The soundtrack also includes "Peaches" by The Stranglers, "Cuba" by The Gibson Brothers, "G-Spot" by Wayne Marshall, "Daddy Rollin' Stone" by Derek Martin, and Henry Mancini's "Lujon" (from the 1961 LP "Mr. Lucky Goes Latin").
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- "Jeremy Thomas - And I'm still a fan". Berlinale Talents. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
- "Sexy Beast (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- Sexy Beast at Metacritic. Accessed 4 February 2008
- Wesley, Morris (15 March 2002). "Kingsley a beauty in 'Sexy Beast' / His maniacal sadist adds frenzied edge". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
- Gleiberman, Owen (22 June 2001). "Sexy Beast (2001)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
- Edelstein, David (22 June 2001). "They Pull Me Back In". Slate. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
- Travers, Peter (15 June 2001). "Sexy Beast". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
- Turan, Kenneth. Sexy Beast: Stylish, but Very Nasty, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2001. Accessed 4 February 2008.
- Hunter, Stephen (22 June 2001). "'Sexy Beast': Gandhi Goes Gangsta". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
- Elley, Derek (21 September 2000). "Review: ‘Sexy Beast’". Variety. Retrieved 4 February 2008.