Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ben Kingsley, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu.
Running time: 110 minutes
Directed By: Paul McGuigan
Written By: Jason Smilovic
The title of this film had put me off seeing it, also the fact that Josh Hartnett is the lead didn't do it much favours. I don't have much against the guy but he seems to make every character he plays turn into Josh Hartnett and that is why it seems that he brings out a movie every few years or so. Saying that, once this film got going he had drawn me into his character rather well and I actually believed I was watching a guy with the weirdest name, Slevin and not Josh Hartnett.
The film is based around mistake identity. Slevin has come into town after losing his job, flat and girlfriend all in one day. He has come to New York to stay with his friend Nick Fisher, such a good friend that when he arrives he isn't there and still hasn't returned the following morning, leaving Slevin to make himself at home. Slevin then meets Nick's neighbour Lindsey (Liu), who instantly falls for Slevin's charm, and I'm sure manhood considering she gets a complete eyeful with him only wearing a bath towel. Moments after she leaves another knock at the door produces two heavies, both of whom work for the Boss (Freeman) and have orders to bring in Nick Fisher. Despite not being Fisher, Slevin has no way of proving otherwise and is dragged in front of the Boss who is demanding the ninety-six thousand that he/Fisher owes him, or kill his arch nemesis, the Rabi (Kingsley)'s son to wipe off his debt. Slevin leaves to ponder and almost instantly is dragged in front of the Rabi, who also believes he is Nick Fisher. Nick Fisher happens to owe the Rabi thirty three thousand and Slevin has forty eight hours to pay up. What to do next?
The narrative is very jumpy and the story twists and turns throughout and you find yourself guessing and then second guessing what is going to happen to this poor guy, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He must somehow come up with a plan to worm his way out as he is no killer and has no money to his name. I won't let you in on anymore as you won't know which way this film is going and it will have you confused until the very end, where every little seed of detail falls into place, and I have to say it works bloody well.
The cast is full of A-List stars and not one of them disappoints. As well as the leads we are treated to a bit of Bruce Willis and Stanley Tucci, both of whom are very good in their roles. It isn't only the plot that takes surprising turns, it is also each character, all of which seem to have a trick up their sleeve at some point and all the actors present their tricks with surprise and intrigue. It is a thinker and if you are not really watching you will become confused.
It isn't a crime thriller, more of a dark comedy. The first half is very quirky and the dialogue is sharp and snappy and some of the best pieces of dialogue I've heard in a while, all delivered with great punch from each actor, including Hartnett. It was a film that had me thinking but also had me laughing. What more can you ask for?
One minor fault I have with it however is the lack of direction shown in a few very poor shots. There are also a few jump cuts which make very little sense and there wasn't much point of them. At times they make you notice several continuity problems and to be fair they needn't have done it. So for me the choice of shots and some of the editing does let it down but the acting, story and dialogue do make up for that. The first half is quirky, showing some poor filmmaking and the second half becomes dark, a complete change of tone, and shows some great filmmaking, especially in the editing. It is like two different films and both were very good.
Let it all sink in and laugh along and I tell you, you won't be disappointed.
4 / 5
Next film I'll be reviewing: T-FORCE