An ex-con, fresh out of prison, goes to L.A. to try to learn who murdered his daughter. However, he quickly finds that he is completely out of place with no understanding of the culture he finds. His investigations are helped by another ex-con. Together they learn that his daughter had been having an affair with a record producer, who is presently having an affair with another young woman. An aging actress, who also knew his daughter, forces him to look at his own failures as a father. The movie does focus on the drama of the situation and the inter-relationships of the characters and seldom slips into an action piece. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Soderbergh is a really odd director. His movies have run the gamut from the wacky, self indulgent surrealism of 'Schizopolis' to the pandering, sell-out mediocrity of 'Ellen Brockovich'. He's really hard to get a handle on. 'Out Of Sight' was stylish with an outstanding cast but left me cold. 'Traffic' featured a handful of great performances, most notably Benicio Del Toro's, but was overall simplistic, unconvincing and cliched. For my money his strongest achievements to date have been his overlooked noir-ish 'Underneath', and this, his involving revenge drama 'The Limey'.
Terrence Stamp, a fine actor who has appeared in more than his fair share of bad movies, really takes this role and runs with it. He radiates dignity and power as Wilson, the English career criminal out to avenge the death of his estranged daughter. My only problem with his performance, and the movie as a whole, is his Cockney accent, which borders on caricature. If you can get over that hurdle you'll be impressed by the depth of his performance.
Peter Fonda, who has never impressed me much as an actor in the past (not even his much lauded role in the overrated 'Ulee's Gold'), is also fine as the sleazy record producer who Wilson suspects of wrongdoing. Stamp and Fonda obviously relish playing these characters, and their chemistry together is the cornerstone of the movie. Both actors are supported by an impressive array of old and new faces - including a surprisingly effective Lesley Anne Warren (her best since 'Cop'), the always watchable Luis Guzman ('Boogie Nights', 'Carlito's Way', etc.), blasts from the pasts Barry Newman (cult classic 'Vanishing Point') and Joe Dallessandro (former Warhol superstar), and future star in the making Nicky Katt ('Strange Days', 'SubUrbia').
Soderbergh cleverly uses footage from Ken Loach's kitchen sink drama 'Poor Cow' for flashbacks, and plays upon Stamp and Fonda's 60s screen personas, but the film is no exercise in mere nostalgia. 'The Limey' is a rarity in Hollywood these days - an intelligent, thoughtful, well crafted and acted adult movie. I liked it a lot.
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