Sexy Beast

Title: Sexy Beast
Rating: R
Release Date: March 12, 2002
Running Time: approximately 89 minutes
Ten-second Rundown: A retired thief gets called back for the fabled one last job - and the caller violently refuses to take no for an answer.

  • Commentary by Ben Kingsley and Producer Jeremy Thomas

  • Theatrical trailer

  • Behind-the-scenes Featurette

  • International trailer

  • Coming Attractions From Fox
  • Choice Scene: Don Logan refuses to put out his cigarette on an airplane in one of the most quietly menacing movie moments of 2001.

    Tech Specs: Widescreen, aspect ratio 1.85:1, English Dolby DTS 5.1 surround sound, Dolby 2.0., English and Spanish subtitles
    Type of disc: Dual Layer Format

    At the Academy Awards last month, Jim Broadbent took home the Best Supporting Actor award, beating out Ben Kingsley, who was nominated for his role in Sexy Beast. The Academy has committed worse crimes against movie fans, but this one was a real shame. A decade from now, Broadbent may be remembered for his work in other films, but people will still be talking about Kingsley as Don Logan.

    Don is perhaps the sexy beast of the title, though the film isn't really about him. However, it doesn't fully snap into life until he appears, and once Kingsley has your attention, he doesn't let go.

    The film begins with Gal (Ray Winstone), a former safecracker retired from the life, relaxing poolside in his villa in Spain. (His guttural expressions of pleasure provide the soundtrack for the DVD menu as well.) With his ex-pornstar wife, Gal has carved out a life of peace and happiness. He lounges, he loves, he lives.

    Soon enough that peace is shattered by the appearance of Don, in an audacious long tracking shot of him just walking through an airport. From the jangling pop and the fierce gaze, we know Don is nothing but trouble.

    Gal knows it, too. They have a history together, and Don demands that it be rekindled. Sent by London crimelord Teddy Bass (Ian McShane), Don needs to recruit Gal for one last job. It's not that the job is that dangerous so much as Gal considers it bad karma. Helping make his decision are night visions of a vengeful rabbit monster determined to shatter Gal's place in the world. Is the rabbit Don? Or is Don even more savage?

    Sexy Beast plays with that notion, sometimes a thriller, sometimes a heist film, and sometimes even a romantic comedy. But what ties it all together is the barking dog Don, a man who has no idea how to be happy and determined to make sure no one around him can be happy, either. In the included featurette, Kingsley describes Don as a Tomahawk Missile, and it's as apt a description as any. No matter what you call it, though, it's riveting, and that's no hype. This was the best acting job of 2001, bar none.

    As a film, Sexy Beast is riveting, one that makes it worth getting on DVD. The extras are sparse and admittedly weak. Behind-the-scenes featurettes tend to all blur into one; only the settings change, though the one included here is the only place you'll hear from lead Ray Winstone and the director, Jonathan Glazer.

    The commentary fails to hold much interest, mainly because producer Thomas has nothing much to say beyond pointing out the obvious. Anyone who listens to commentary already has a good conception of film; either give us great anecdotes or tell us how amazing shots were done. Kingsley offers what he can, but though he's an electrifying actor, he's a rather low-key man. Both commentators stay silent for long periods of time.

    Still, with a movie this fun, who cares? Not a lot of people caught it in theatrical release, but this is one that should have great life on video as a buried gem. You'd do well to find out about it sooner than later.

    Buy Sexy Beast

    Derek McCaw


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