The Limey [DVD]
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Having served a nine-year prison sentence, cockney criminal Wilson (Terence Stamp) emerges to discover that his estranged daughter, Jenny, has been killed in a car crash. When he finds out that Jenny was having an affair with American rock promoter Terry Valentine (Peter Fonda), Wilson flies out to Los Angeles, looking for revenge. Upon his arrival he is beaten up by thugs apparently employed by Valentine, and so embarks on a one-man crusade to discover how Valentine was involved in Jenny's death.
Two icons of 60s cinema, Terence Stamp and Peter Fonda, go head-to-head in Steven Soderbergh's stylish reworking of the lone avenger theme. Stamp plays Wilson, an ageing Cockney villain newly out of jail, who arrives in Los Angeles to ask some awkward questions. His beloved daughter, mistress of powerful rock promoter Terry Valentine (Fonda), has died in a car crash; but Wilson's far from convinced it was an accident. With his gaunt, grim features and sparse white hair, Stamp's a dead ringer for the angel of death. Or maybe, as Soderbergh hints with some intricate flashback and flash-forward cutting, the whole story is a dying man's dream of vengeance. Echoes of Get Carter and Point Blank aren't far to seek. Though it's tense, gripping and often funny--Wilson's rhyming-slang dialogue bemuses every American he meets--The Limey is shot through with an aching sense of loss and wasted years. The final showdown between Wilson and Valentine feels like the epitaph of an era once rich in dreams. Some of the film's most poignant moments are its "flashbacks" to Wilson's younger days, which are actually clips from Ken Loach's 1967 movie Poor Cow, featuring the twentysomething Stamp, insolently and heart-breakingly beautiful. --Philip Kemp --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I took this film out thinking it would be a violent, cool, thriller. It is all of those things, but certainly no action movie. More one for the art-house. The script is taut - there are very few wasted words. If you like character-driven movies that make you think, you'll enjoy this. If you're looking for a shoot-'em-up, give it a miss!
Wilson (Stamp), fresh out of prison, travels to Los Angeles to investigate the death of his estranged daughter Jenny (Melissa George). Aided by a couple of her friends, Wilson's trail leads to the last guy Jenny was dating, oily record producer Terry Valentine (Fonda), a guy with more than record producing on his CV.
Steven Soderbergh picks up on a common film noir theme, that of a man seeking revenge for the death of a friend or loved one, and cloaks it in visual and aural artistry. The story as written is simple, undeniably so, yet the narrative structure spins it into a vortex of complexity and psychological disharmony.
Alongside his editor, Sarah Flack, Soderbergh uses flash-backs and flash-forwards to unfurl the plot. Thus we often get a triplicate viewpoint of a scene, such as what will happen, what the antagonist wants to happen or what might happen! It's dizzying stuff but it serves the emotional thrum of the plot beautifully and draws the viewer firmly into Wilson's state of mind. This is the case with dialogue and sound as well, where a current scene will feature previous or future aural snatches. The director also splices in scenes from Wilson's memory banks to marry up the emotional discord, while also deftly using scenes from Stamp's performance in 1967 film Poor Cow (Ken Loach) to show the youthful Wilson from happier times.
If this all sounds like style over substance? Then it is, but The Limey rises above this issue because elsewhere there's other great rewards.Read more ›
Terence Stamp gives a fine, award-worthy performance as a man who is looking to find out how and why his daughter died. His techniques are varied, but he never holds back, and is adamant that he will learn the truth. Watching how he learns the truth is what holds your attention: you can't take your eyes of Stamp who (to repeat the above sentiment) is brilliant, and an inspired piece of casting. The part of Wilson is written with wit and humour (think Cockney-rhyming slang, and utterly perplexed Americans), violence and brutality, and Stamp has no problem dealing with both. Through Stamp's performance Wislon becomes a genuinely frightening cinematic creation, moving easily from the calmly passive to the madly aggressive. He is not just a 'tough-guy', he is a believable, plausible one (albeit one who in many ways remains an enigma).
'The Limey' also shows director Soderberg at his technical and artistic best; this is a film so well produced that it flows almost too naturally: no jagged edges, no visible signs of construction, no shoddy workmanship, only great production values, from top to bottom.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Once again a fantastic film by one of the most creative and intelligent filmmakers of his generation. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Patrick Foissac
One of my favourite revenge films. You will either love or hate it. Point Blank (1967) was an obvious inspiration.Published 7 months ago by Mr. E. A. Dobson
An ex-con, fresh out of prison, goes to L.A. to try to learn who murdered his daughter.
However, he quickly finds that he is completely out of place with no... Read more
Nice to see Terence Stamp - and the edited clips from "Poor Cow" is a nice touch. Guzman good too.Published on 21 Jan. 2014 by Christopher W. Roelants
I mostly don't like Steven Soderbegh films at all, but this quite original 1999 crime film is one of the exceptions. Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2014 by Maciej
As other reviewers have pointed out this has some elements of an art-house movie in its style and content, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Read morePublished on 14 Aug. 2013 by S J Buck