At 23:05  on Wednesday (12/1)  Film4 has  Sexy Beast (2000). It’s our Film of the Week.

Jonathan Glazer’s Costa del Sol gangster flick. Ray Winstone, in what he acknowledges was a departure for him, plays Gal, a reformed ex-con now living in Spain with his wife Dede (Amanda Redman) and two friends Jackie (Julianne White) and Aitch (Cavan Kendall). Gal enjoys the life and has no intention of returning to crime until he is visited by Don Logan, a fearsome sociopath and former colleague played by Ben Kingsley, on a mission to recruit Gal for one last heist, for old times’ sake. 

Don’s visit to the villa is something to behold, laced with furious sub-Shakespearean ranting, and Kingsley’s performance is masterly.  It’s fair to say he is not impressed with what Gal has become, referring to him as ‘a leather man’.  For reasons that become clear, Gal has to ‘do the job’, which involves returning to Blighty (‘a shit hole’ as he puts it), and be reunited with former boss Teddy Bass (Ian MacShane) and Stan (Darkie Smith) as well as a pack of what appear to be cackling wolves. The contrast between them and Gal could not be clearer. James Fox plays Harry, an oily banker whom Bass meets at an orgy: this film really has everything. 

If you think this all sounds a bit grim, fear not. While the seediness is evident in the UK, there is a strong seam of humour, with lots of good one-liners, and life on the sun-dazzled Costa does look appealing in comparison. Winstone is sensitive as a devoted husband to Dede and all the other parts are well-played, even if Kingsley’s demonic twisted presence overshadows them a little. Glazer brilliantly renders the script by Louis Mellis and David Scinto. Jeremy Thomas produced. Given Glazer’s limited feature film output (only Birth and Under the Skin since this), we could definitely do with more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *