Gangster Gary Dove (Ray Winstone) has now retired to a villa on the Costa Del Sol, where he lives with ex-porn star wife DeeDee (Amanda Redman) and spends his time lazing by the pool and dining out with friends. All is well until Gary's psychotic former colleague Dan Logan (Ben Kingsley) arrives in Spain, determined to persuade him to do one last job. Dan is now in the employ of London crime kingpin Teddy Bass (Ian McShane), who intends to rob the bank of his sometime lover Harry (James Fox). Gary maintains that he has turned his back on his criminal past, but Dan is not prepared to take no for an answer...
Fed up with the seemingly endless succession of Brit gangster flicks? Or just wish that someone would reinvent the genre? Either way, Sexy Beast is for you. While reintroducing some of the well-worn characters of recent years, the film at least attempts to take a sideways look at the genre. Centred on the lives of two ex-con ex-pats and their new lives in Spain, the story is one concerning the conflict between the past and the present. Ray Winston is Gel, who, enjoying his life of early retirement in the sun, finds his loyalties called into question when asked to return to Britain to take part in an audacious heist. There's not much else to say plot wise, but the script and cast is so strong that the film gets away with it. Eschewing the younger brat pack in favour of the likes of Winston, Ian McShane, Amanda Redman (sadly under-used) and Ben Kingsley (whose ultra foul-mouthed Don steals every scene) gives the film a calm authority. Quite violent--although more in language than action--but not without its moments of brilliant humour, Sexy Beast is an intelligent, enthralling and welcome addition to the gangster-film genre. --Phil Udell
Award-winning Jonathan Glazer presents his feature film debut with this lushly photographed, expertly written, and brilliantly performed convention-defying gangster film. Sexy Beast jettisons the slickness of the "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" school in favor of intricate character development. In its opening shot, Gary "Gal" Dove (Ray Winstone)--a big-bellied ex-gangster with a cockney accent--is sunning himself by the pool at his luxe villa in Spain, when a gigantic boulder hurtles down a hillside, almost killing him. The near miss serves as a troublesome portent, but it hardly affects Gal, who is immersed in his tranquil life with wife Deedee (Amanda Redman), who he adores with earnest fervor. However, Gal's peace is soon shattered by the arrival of Don Logan (Ben Kingsley), a brutal former accomplice looking to recruit Gal for a heist. A battle of wills ensues when Gal refuses to leave retirement, and the frighteningly intense Don refuses to take no for an answer. Glazer expertly heightens the film's tension using shifts in the pacing and flashbacks, while Kingsley and Winstone imbue their characters with gorgeous life.