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Overall Rating
3.05

Awesome: 13.64%
Worth A Look36.36%
Just Average: 13.64%
Pretty Crappy: 13.64%
Sucks: 22.73%

6 reviews, 30 user ratings


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Lucky Number Slevin
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by brianorndorf

"Gee thanks, Quentin Tarantino"
1 stars

“Lucky Number Slevin” didn’t strike me as unique, interesting, or even fun. Mostly it’s a laborious exercise in hipster screenwriting, bumbling its way to a wildly miscalculated finale. It tries to roll around in Tarantinoland, but fails to impress at every turn.

Slevin (Josh Hartnett, now experiencing bed head for his eighth straight year!) has just been mugged and beaten, and looks for solace in his friend’s apartment. Mingling with a curious neighbor (Lucy Liu), Slevin is soon hauled away by thugs to meet The Boss (Morgan Freeman), who mistakes the confused young man for his gambling addict friend. Looking for a repayment of debt, The Boss offers Slevin a chance to get himself out of trouble if he murders the son of his rival, The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley). Slevin, in over his head, looks for ways out of this predicament, shadowed at all times by the enigmatic Mr. Goodkat (Bruce Willis), a hired killer who pulls the criminal underworld strings.

After “Pulp Fiction” exploded in 1994, there was a slew of imitators that followed closely with identical ingredients. They all wanted a slice of the hipster criminal money pie, but soon the genre died and Hollywood moved on to superhero and horror movies. “Lucky Number Slevin” represents the next wave of spunky crime thriller/comedies, and if this film is the warning shot, the future looks bleak.

Written by Jason Smilovic, “Slevin” feels like a lackluster writing sample that somehow bumbled its way into a feature film production. Smilovic’s screenwriting is wordy, self-conscious, and cutesy, propelling itself with “Thin Man” speed, but stuck with film geek references that even fictional characters would never be caught dead speaking. It plays like the “Gilmore Girls” with more bullets and bad haircuts, but without a scrap of charm or artistic proficiency. With lovers comparing James Bond actors in bed, The Rabbi chatting up “North by Northwest” with Slevin, or just general meaningless back-and-forth quipping between enemies, “Slevin” rambles on and on with incessant dialog. It soon becomes crystal clear that Smilovic is trying to cover for the lack of dimension in the film with all his toothless wordplay.

Director Paul McGuigan (who worked with Hartnett in “Wicker Park”) is also incapable of bringing any spark to this dried up story. He’s hedged his bets by casting the film with sparkling stars, and there’s a minor tremor of excitement that comes with watching Freeman, Willis, and Kingsley in a room together. OK, after “A Sound of Thunder” and “BloodRayne,” maybe not Kingsley so much. McGuigan tarts up the film with moody photography and some trick shots, but he is completely unable to find a pulse to the story. “Slevin” arrogantly assumes itself a wickedly clever creation, but there’s little proof during the film that validates the production’s argument.

In the finale, “Slevin” turns into a “Usual Suspects” event, where Smilovic is looking to blow minds by yanking the plot inside out. What the writer and director fail to do with the rest of the film is find a convincing reason why the viewer should even care by this point. There’s so much attention placed on tongue-twisting dialog and showboating characters that to try and reshape this experience as a brain-tickler is unreasonable and quite tedious.

The final 15 minutes of “Slevin” are devoted to McGuigan flat-out explaining the plot to the audience, which is now divided into two camps: those that have no desire to learn the “truth” in the first place, and those who figured it out in the opening reel because Josh Hartnett is incapable of a performance that requires a character to convey the illusion of ingenuity.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13578&reviewer=404
originally posted: 04/07/06 00:26:57
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
6/22/09 Beefsolver Transparently derivative. Uneven results. Beef solved. 3 stars
11/25/08 Shaun Wallner Laughed my ass off! 5 stars
6/11/08 PAUL SHORTT A FILM RECYCLED FROM TOO MANY PREVIOUS MOVIES 1 stars
3/04/08 JLH Very good flim... 4 stars
9/21/07 Steve Newman I loved this film - go see 4 stars
5/29/07 Piz an 0-2 pitch high and outside ... a waste! 2 stars
3/15/07 Matt A strong cast is wasted on this overly complicated pile of cinematic effluent. 1 stars
10/29/06 JeromeBosch Elaborate, intelligent and satisfying. Excellent! 5 stars
10/23/06 Indrid Cold Great dialogue + decent story = above average. Hey, I liked it more than Pulp Fiction. 4 stars
10/21/06 Dillon A mindgame worth playing. 4 stars
10/10/06 jagnet I thought this was very entertaining. One for the collection 5 stars
10/04/06 Jordan Whoever wrote that review is a moron! It was incredible. 5 stars
10/02/06 Agent Sands One of the most brilliant scripts ever written. Dialogue & story are both refreshingly new! 5 stars
9/21/06 Alyssa Hale It has a good story which is developed well through the movie. 4 stars
9/20/06 matt enjoyable but VERY predictable 4 stars
9/16/06 ad entertaining 4 stars
8/24/06 Ali Junaid Hayat It is a good story. 3 stars
5/26/06 Regina George didn't really survive the school bus accident Possibly the best amoral contorted thriller since A FISH CALLED WANDA. 5 stars
4/30/06 David Pearson Superb well told entertaining crime story 5 stars
4/29/06 Agent Sands Riveting, Oldboy-style refresher. 5 stars
4/27/06 Ahmed Kazikian Good movie. Stop bashing it, and pay attention; you'll enjoy it. Not a masterwork, but fun. 5 stars
4/22/06 Yvonne I thought the movie was very good. It could have been better, but overall it was good. 4 stars
4/15/06 mr.mike thumbs up 4 stars
4/12/06 San Lamar Entertaining Action Flick 4 stars
4/11/06 the reader lame and derivative, all hype and boring to sit through 1 stars
4/08/06 Steve Michaud Enjoyable blending of Hitchcock and Tarantino 4 stars
4/07/06 jasq hit man with a heart of gold. 3 stars
1/28/06 xtc at least the movie has wallpaper going for it. 2 stars
1/23/06 Ellen James Very violent! Too much gore and not enough plot. Mystery that was figured out in 15 min.! 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Apr-2006 (R)
  DVD: 12-Sep-2006

UK
  24-Feb-2006

Australia
  09-Nov-2006



[trailer] Trailer


Directed by
  Paul McGuigan

Written by
  Jason Smilovic

Cast
  Josh Hartnett
  Ben Kingsley
  Bruce Willis
  Morgan Freeman
  Lucy Liu
  Stanley Tucci



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