The Essential Movie Library #74: Sexy Beast (2000) - The Culture Files Blog - Los Angeles magazine
 
 

The Essential Movie Library #74: Sexy Beast (2000)

This film tells the story of a retired gangster living the dream in Spain, sunbathing by his pool when an unexpected disruption from his criminal past comes rolling through

With pictures like Snatch and In Bruges, Britain invented a 21st-century noir that so tipped the scale between glamour and nihilism to the dark side that sometimes all you could do is laugh. The enigmatic title might refer to the story’s protagonist or villain, or to the ex-porn star wife played by Amanda Redman (the film’s true hero, if there is one); in any case Sexy Beast is the greatest of these pictures. Making his debut as director, Jonathan Glazer has the eye of a surrealist—as further evidenced by subsequent pictures like Birth and the new Under the Skin—whether he’s shooting the Spanish badlands or the mean streets of London.

He also has assembled a flawless cast. Besides Redman, Ray Winstone is the retired gangster living the dream in Spain, sunbathing by his pool when there comes rolling down the hill above him a boulder that portends the arrival—from Winstone’s previous criminal life—of the psychotic Ben Kingsley, who is as original, funny, and scary as the rest of the movie he threatens to swallow whole. Cannily playing off the saintly mien he had gathered 20 years earlier as Gandhi and a stature no one found intimidating before this, Kingsley reportedly based his character on his grandmother and so freaked out the other actors with his ferocity as to have struck them speechless, a complete stupefaction that you can see in the scenes. It’s one of the most electrifying performances of its decade. 

Read them all:

The Essential Movie Library #73: Groundhog Day
The Essential Movie Library #72: Rear Window
The Essential Movie Library #71: The 400 Blows
The Essential Movie Library #70: Blue Velvet
The Essential Movie Library #69: Dr. Strangelove
The Essential Movie Library #68: The Bicycle Thieves
The Essential Movie Library #67: Pulp Fiction
The Essential Movie Library #66: Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
The Essential Movie Library #65: Caché
The Essential Movie Library #64: A Hard Day's Night
The Essential Movie Library #63: The Searchers
The Essential Movie Library #62: The Conformist
The Essential Movie Library #61: Bonnie & Clyde
The Essential Movie Library #60: Sweet Smell of Success
The Essential Movie Library #59: Melancholia
The Essential Movie Library #58: La Dolce Vita
The Essential Movie Library #57: Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
The Essential Movie Library #56: Contempt
The Essential Movie Library #55: Sunset Boulevard
The Essential Movie Library #54: Metropolis
The Essential Movie Library #53: In A Lonely Place
The Essential Movie Library #52: Talk to Her
The Essential Movie LIbrary #51: To Be or Not To Be
The Essential Movie Library #50: The Battle of Algiers
The Essential Movie Library #49: Notorious
The Essential Movie Library #48: Wings of Desire
The Essential Movie Library #47: L'Avventura
The Essential Movie Library #46: Malcolm X
The Essential Movie Library #45: In the Mood for Love
The Essential Movie Library #44: Touch of Evil
The Essential Movie Library #43: Once Upon A Time in the West
The Essential Movie Library #42: Belle de Jour
The Essential Movie Library #41: Apocalypse Now
The Essential Movie Library #40: Out of the Past
The Essential Movie Library #39: Branded to Kill
The Essential Movie Library #38: The General
The Essential Movie Library #37: Lord of the Rings
The Essential Movie Library #36: Aguirre, the Wrath of God
The Essential Movie Library #35: Raging Bull
The Essential Movie Library #34: The Rules of the Game
The Essential Movie Library #33: Chinatown 
The Essential Movie Library #32: Stalker
The Essential Movie Library #31: Weekend
The Essential Movie Library #30: Some Like It Hot 
The Essential Movie Library #29: Red River
The Essential Movie Library #28: The Passenger
The Essential Movie Library #27: Singin' in the Rain
The Essential Movie Library #26: Heat
The Essential Movie Library #25: L'Atalante
The Essential Movie Library #24: Sunrise
The Essential Movie Library #23: His Girl Friday
The Essential Movie Library #22: Black Narcissus
The Essential Movie Library #21: Blade Runner
The Essential Movie Library #20: Persona
The Essential Movie Library #19: The Shop Around the Corner
The Essential Movie Library #18: Lost Highway
The Essential Movie Library #17: Tokyo Story
The Essential Movie Library #16: 8 1/2
The Essential Movie Library #15: City Lights
The Essential Movie Library #14: Seven Samurai
The Essential Movie Library #13: Lawrence of Arabia
The Essential Movie Library #12: Citizen Kane
The Essential Movie Library #11: Jules and Jim
The Essential Movie Library #10: My Darling Clementine 
The Essential Movie Library #9: Double Indemnity 
The Essential Movie Library #8: That Obscure Object of Desire 
The Essential Movie Library #7: 2001: A Space Odyssey 
The Essential Movie Library #6: Casablanca
The Essential Movie Library #5: The Lady Eve
The Essential Movie Library #4: The Third Man 
The Essential Movie Library #3: The Passion of Joan of Arc 
The Essential Movie Library #2: Vertigo 
The Essential Movie Library #1: The Godfather Trilogy

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

Stay Connected

 
Get Our LAmag.com Free Newsletter
 
more promotions
 
Advertisement
Subscribe to Los Angeles magazine