Thriller in which a case of mistaken identity lands Slevin (Josh Hartnett) in the middle of a war being plotted by two of the city's most rival crime bosses, The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley) and The Boss (Morgan Freeman). Slevin is under constant surveillance by relentless Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci) as well as the infamous assassin Goodkat (Bruce Willis) and finds himself having to hatch his own ingenious plot to get them before they get him.
How boring it is to label a movie Tarantino-esque anymore. The thing is, when it comes to an offering like Lucky Number Slevin
, the shoe fits, and the result is anything but boring. Gruesome killings, arid wit, self-reflexive pop culture references, an A-list cast, and style-heavy production values abound, which gives the proceedings an epoxy bond that seals the Q.T. homage factor. Josh Hartnett--who spends a lot of buffed-up time with his shirt off--is Slevin Kelevra, a hapless fellow visiting his New York friend Nick. But Nick has disappeared, which sets off a mistaken-identity thrill ride when two goons grab Slevin (he's in Nick's apartment so he must be Nick) and take him to their crime lord boss, the Boss (Morgan Freeman). The Boss doesn't care about Slevin's wrong-man protests; he just wants the $96,000 Nick owes him. In one of many offers he can't refuse, Slevin has to agree to murder the son of the Boss's felonious arch rival, the Rabbi (Ben Kingsley) or take the bullet himself. But Slevin turns out to be no ordinary patsy. Thrown into the ingeniously designed production, clever plot twists, and academic nods to Bond, Hitchcock, and obscure old cartoons are Lucy Liu as a sexy coroner, Stanley Tucci as an obsessed cop, and Bruce Willis as a wily hit man with his finger in many pots. With so much visual and narrative trickery, there's almost too much to absorb in one viewing of this convoluted jigsaw puzzle of revenge and entertaining mayhem. Lucky Number Slevin
isn't quite up to par with similarly brainy thrillers like Memento
and The Usual Suspects
, but the prospect of seeing it again in order to get your bearings is just as appealing.--Ted Fry