Sunday, 6 April 2014

#26 Sexy Beast

Surprisingly surreal, surprisingly real, definitely good

Sexy Beast was not the Guy Ritchie gangster affair I thought it would be.

I began expecting a bit too much hard man violence, oddball characters and a load of dialogue I'd find hard to follow if it wasn't for my sophisticated cockney linguistics skills (I have none). After watching number 32 on film 4's list of films to see before you die, I actually found that Sexy Beast did deliver all of these traits but was a different beast (eugh, really not intentional) altogether.

The film starts with the iconic scene of the greased up reddening body of  Gal, played by Ray Winstone, baking in the sun. Brilliantly, like Muriels wedding or a Mike Leigh film (my favorite filmic references), the film has a pleasant aesthetic realism which creates charming and funny scenes of gangster life in England and Spain. You catch yourself smiling rather than cringing at the open shirts, pink wedge sandals and red english faces which make up a brilliant pastiche of the middle aged expat glamour. What is great though is when this realism is punctuated with the surreal inner workings of Gal's mind. The whole thing is crafted so well and written so well that it feels more theatrical than a standard film.

The best thing about the film though was the unexpected element of a love story. Throughout the film you get an insight into one of the sweetest on screen relationships I've seen since Bruce Willis and his pot bellied girlfriend in Pulp fiction.

This is definitely a film I'd watch again and a dark but warming tale of a side to gangster life we never see; retirement.

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