Sexy Beast is a 2000 British crime film and the directorial debut of Jonathan Glazer. Glazer had previously directed music videos and commercials for companies such as Guinness and Levi’s. The film stars Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian McShane. Kingsley’s performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2004 the magazine Total Film named Sexy Beast the 15th greatest British film of all time.
Ex-con and expert safe-cracker Gary “Gal” Dove (Ray Winstone) has served his time behind bars and happily retired to a Spanishvilla with his beloved ex–porn star wife DeeDee (Amanda Redman). He also has the company of long-time best friend Aitch (Cavan Kendall) and his wife Jackie (Julianne White). Their serene life is shattered by the arrival of an old criminal associate, the sociopathic Don Logan (Ben Kingsley), who is intent on enlisting Gal in a bank heist back in London. Organising the heist is Teddy Bass (Ian McShane), a powerful crime lord, who has learned about the bank’s vault from Harry (James Fox), the bank’s chairman whom he met at an orgy.
Gal politely but firmly declines Logan’s many demands to join the heist, but Logan will not back down. After revealing an obsessive infatuation with Jackie, Logan also makes several unwelcome attempts at reconnecting with her. Logan eventually grows furious, hurling torrents of verbal abuse at the group while at the same time spitefully painting himself as a victim of their betrayal. After storming away in a rage, Logan boards a plane back to London, only to be kicked off for refusing to put out his cigarette. Seething with hatred, Logan returns to Gal’s home with menacing intentions, hitting a glass beer bottle into Gal’s ear. DeeDee shoots Logan with a shotgun, incapacitating him. The four friends join in their efforts to kill him, first beating him, stamping on him, shooting him again, and finally crushing his skull.
Hoping to cover up Logan’s murder, Gal returns to London to perform the job. When asked by Bass about Logan’s whereabouts, Gal feigns ignorance and claims Logan had called him “from Heathrow”. However, Bass is visibly suspicious, and Gal’s anxieties mount.
During the heist, Bass’ crew use surface-supplied diving gear to drill into Harry’s bank vault from a pool in a neighbouring bath house. The water from the pool floods the vault and shorts its security system. While helping to empty the vault’s safe deposit boxes, Gal secretly pockets a pair of large ruby earrings encrusted with diamonds. After the job is successfully completed, Gal’s lack of celebration further raises Bass’ suspicions. Bass offers Gal a ride to the airport, but along the way, stops by Harry’s home. Inside, Bass kills Harry in cold blood and immediately and pointedly questions Gal again about Logan. Gal merely responds, “I’m not into this any more.” Back in the car, Bass suggests he knows what happened to Logan, saying, “Spain, eh? I must drop in sometime. Pay my respects.” He gives Gal £10 in payment for his services, tells him to get out of the car and drives away, leaving Gal to his own devices.
In the final scene, back in Spain, Gal is again home surrounded by his friends and by DeeDee, who is seen wearing the ruby-diamond earrings that he stole. It is also revealed that Logan lies buried under the double-heart insignia at the bottom of their pool.
- Ray Winstone as Gary “Gal” Dove, a retired safe-cracker who used to be a prominent criminal and minor celebrity in the London underworld, loved by everyone and a popular figure. He was involved in a heist that went wrong and spent nine years of his life in prison, taking the full rap for the job. Once out, he married DeeDee, the love of his life, and moved to Spain, wanting never to have anything to do with crime again. Although there are strong hints that he used to be a “hard man” back in his old life, he is now a very private person and never shows hostility, until the final confrontation with Don Logan.
- Ben Kingsley as Don Logan, a recruiter for the London underworld, who puts people together into teams to pull off various heists. A violent, intimidating sociopath, he uses everything in his power — from manipulation to outright violence — to convince Dove to return to London to do a final job. Kingsley, on the DVD commentary, calls Logan “The Unhappiest Man in the World” and in several interviews, has claimed that he based his performance largely on his grandmother, whom he called “A vile and extremely unpleasant woman”.
- Ian McShane as Teddy Bass, the head of a criminal empire in London. According to an interview with McShane, Bass controls a loose-knit underworld gang that commits a robbery about once every five to ten years. He is a meticulous planner and frequently uses Logan’s services to put his teams together for jobs. Like Logan, Bass does not hesitate to use violence, and shoots Harry in the head in cold blood.
- Amanda Redman as DeeDee Dove, Gal’s beloved wife, a former porn star who is also trying to put her old life behind her. Logan later tells Dove that her old films are still very popular; it is also heavily implied that it was hard-core footage. According to Kingsley’s DVD commentary, Logan is nearly as afraid of DeeDee as she is of him.
- James Fox as Harry, a bisexual banker who shows Bass the vault after having sex with him. Harry knows that Bass is after his vault, but believes that his bank is impregnable.
- Cavan Kendall as Aitch, Dove’s best friend; he and his wife Jackie are happily married, which incurs Logan’s envious wrath.
- Julianne White as Jackie, Aitch’s wife, who had a brief fling with Logan three years before the film is set.
- Álvaro Monje as Enrique, a Spanish boy who helps Gal out around the house.
- Source: Sexy Beast – Wikipedia
The Lads Room verdict:
First of all, don’t be fooled by the name ‘Sexy Beast’. It’s not some low budget porn film featuring animals.
Sexy Beast is a ‘good old’ British film with some ‘good old’ British actors in Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone and Ian McShane. Ray Winstone is great as the lovable, retired villain Ian McShane only plays a small part as the somewhat intimidating Crime Boss, but plays it very well. The star of the show though has to be Sir Ben Kingsley as Sociopath Don Logan. Overall a great film and well worth a watch.
The Lads Room Rating: 9/10
Source: Sexy Beast – Wikipedia