Ex-villain Gal Dove (Ray Winstone) has served his time behind bars and is blissfully retired to a Spanish villa paradise with a wife he adores. The idyll is shattered by the arrival of his nemesis Don Logan (Ben Kingsley), intent on persuading Gal to return to London for one last big job. Desperate not to sacrifice his enchanted existence, Gal is drawn into a shocking battle of wills with Don, and takes part in a sensational underwater heist, risking everything to protect the woman he loves.

4.5
A superior British gangster film, with an Oscar-nominated bad guy turn from Ben Kingsley.

Retired gangster Gal Dove (Ray Winstone) is a sexy beast as he lies, oiled to the gills, by the side of his private pool on Spain's Costa del Sol. Gal's got it made, he's not rich but he's very comfortable with his wife Deedee, Amanda Redman, a former porn star and close friends Aitch (Cavan Kendall) and Jackie (Julianne White). Even when a rock slides down the hillside cracking the tiling in his pool he takes it in his stride, never seeing it as an omen. And then he hears from Aitch that Don Logan's arriving to talk to him. And he knows what that means. Logan (Ben Kingsley) is a frightening sociopath, he'll stop at nothing to get Gal to go back to London to do one last job for Teddy Bass (Ian McShane). Gal's obdurate, Logan's frightening.

This debut feature by commercials and music video whiz kid Jonathan Glazer is a story told in three acts - the first establishing the good life of the retirees, the second the confrontation between Gal and Logan and the third, the job in London. The second act is the best, featuring the most chillingly convincing performance from Ben Kingsley which is beautifully matched by Winstone. It's an exhilarating film in a lot of ways, it's funny and terrifying at the same time, a gorgeous combination. Visually Glazer stays with his performers, leaving pyrotechnics behind. I was totally involved from beginning to end of Sexy Beast.

Comments from David Stratton:

A splendid British gangster film which succeeds in being both scary and funny. Ray Winstone is superb - as always - as the retired crim sunning himself on the Costa Del Sol - but the revelation is the performance of Ben Kingsley as the evil, foul-mouthed messenger of doom who shatters this Iberian idyll. Excellent.

 

 

Watch 'Sexy Beast'

Thursday 25 March, 9:15pm on SBS World Movies / NOTE: No catch-up at SBS On Demand

MA15+
UK, Spain, 2000
Genre: Crime, Drama
Language: English
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Starring: Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane, Amanda Redman, James Fox

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