The Limey (1999) Poster

(1999)

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9/10
A truly rewarding movie for the patient viewer.
perper24 November 2000
Low-key thriller/drama about an ex-con seeking revenge on the man that caused his daughters death. That's the surface of this very interesting and fascinating movie from director Soederbergh. There's more than meets the eye, and the patient viewer will be highly rewarded.

This is, in my point of view, a film about all our efforts to review our own lives - i.e. trying to make memories of our past fit in with the reality of today. To try to understand all sides of an event between two people; how actions we take, and decisions we make, makes a difference in the long run in our lives.

Wonderfully directed and edited, this movie is really alive, and shines with various tricks and treats of pure movie magic. The score is perfect, and the acting is great (Stamp in the lead is amazing). The way the film makers intertwine dialogue and voice over is fascinating, and reminds me of the films by French movie makers in the sixties (the French "New Wave").

Obviously not in everyone's taste since this movie is quite demanding in attention and pace, this is still one of the best films ever from director Soederbergh. Rating: 9/10.
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10/10
Russian Montage gets an upgrade
Agent1029 April 2002
I always thought the Russian Montage Theory was too outdated for modern cinema, but Steven Soderbergh had other ideas. The Limey had one of the more interesting editing styles I have ever seen, which is why it probably threw so many people in a loop. Its too bad we will never see another film like this from Soderbergh, considering he's probably going to keep making films like Oceans 11. Terence Stamp was especially good in this film, and Luis Guzman provided one of the best screen roles by a Mexican-American. What I especially enjoyed about this movie wasn't just the unique editing style, it was how it affected the emotional standpoint within the movie. You felt distanced, unsure how to look at this film due to the range of images passing before your eye. One of the more unappreciated films of 1999, especially when one looks at the amazing body of work which came out that year.
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8/10
Artistic and simple
FilmOtaku21 July 2004
The `revenge story' is a pretty overdone plot device, so when a film comes along that employs this theme and still remains fresh and compelling, it is safe to say that is a truly good film. Steven Soderbergh's `The Limey' is able to do just that. In `The Limey', Terrence Stamp plays Wilson, a career criminal who, upon being released from prison in England, finds out that his estranged daughter has died (or perhaps been murdered) in Los Angeles. Wilson's mission is to find out what happened to her, and prescribe his own brand of justice on the man behind her death.

Soderbergh's direction in `The Limey' is superb. While I enjoy and admire most of his filmography, I was so enamored with his second film, the barely-seen, highly acclaimed `Kafka' for its originality, its daring style and intellectual feel, that films like `Oceans Eleven' and `Erin Brockovich', while quite good, didn't reflect what I felt was to be his true maverick style. Seeing `The Limey', made before `Erin Brockovich' and shortly a couple of years after `Kafka', I was happy to see that he kind of held on to that spirit (for lack of a better expression) for one more film before producing more commercial fare. `The Limey' is told in a very non-linear style, and not even as clearly delineated as say, `Pulp Fiction' was; rather it is flashbacks and real-time events expressed by fluttering scenes and an almost wispy presentation. Soderbergh also employs scenes from one of Terrence Stamp's films from the 1960's for some flashbacks, a thoroughly brilliant and creative tactic.

Terrence Stamp certainly deserves mention for his performance as Wilson. Whether seeing him as General Zod in `Superman II' or as the drag queen Bernadette in `The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert' he is a true badass. Watching him chase after Peter Fonda in `The Limey' was like watching a reincarnation of Yul Brunner in `Westworld'; he just never let up. Anyone who would get in his way were pretty much toast, but it was all so coldly done that it was almost clinical – just by the hard and distant expression on Wilson's face you know that all of these people were incidental and he wouldn't receive any pleasure until he comes face to face with his nemesis; and even then, it's possibly more of a duty than a pleasure.

Check out this film – you won't regret it. However, if you're expecting a film with the same kind of commercial tone as say, `Oceans Eleven' you may be in for a surprise, albeit, in this viewer's opinion, a pleasant one.

--Shelly
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10/10
Love in unexpected places
bliss6612 April 2003
Somewhere between Out of Sight and the hype of the Erin Brockovich/Traffic double-punch, Soderbergh made this diamond of a film. Terence Stamp is the gem at the centre of it, his beautiful face, always a cinematic treasure, a virtual masterclass in film acting. How this performance went ignored is beyond me but maybe that punishment is fitting for the career criminal he plays.

He is Wilson who after finishing a nine-year sentence "at her Majesty's leisure" goes to L.A. to discover how his daugher, Jenny, met her end while he was in the big house and to avenge her death. Peter Fonda plays her former lover, a wicked, soulless record producer who was big in the sixties and both actors trade on the ghosts of their cinematic pasts to striking effect; particularly Stamp, as footage from his 1967 film, Poor Cow (directed by Ken Loach), is repurposed and edited into the film's ever-shifting timescape. (It is a credit to Soderbergh that he would dare to use another filmmaker's footage and make it so central to his own, even using Loach's footage for his closing shots. In Soderbergh's hands it shows that he is first and foremost a storyteller instead of a shallow egotist and it plays like a grand, cinematic homage to his star.)

Soderbergh shuffles time and Wilson's life like a deck of cards yet always keeps the story moving forward--the editing by Sarah Flak is a marvel. It's a lovely, startling effect; rather than weigh the narrative down with a number of plodding, onerous details, this style keeps the thing as light as a souffle yet full of implications as we imagine the ways and necessities of Wilson telling and retelling, hashing over his life, representing and misrepresenting his actions or inaction. These are the lies he tells himself, the truth he can live with. It's completely engaging and frees the viewer to imagine the surrounding details and circumstances however they like. He certainly couldn't have done it with anyone but Stamp, who is solid throughout; his stillness and his beautiful blue, crystalline eyes like placid pools of water that mask a depth of feeling and a lifetime of regret. That we empathise with an ignoble savage like Wilson at all is purely down to Stamp's controlled, unsentimental performance. Stamp's Wilson doesn't make apologies. Terence Stamp is iconic precisely because of the films he chose to make, particularly after Schlesinger's Far From The Madding Crowd when he could've done anything but went to work with Loach, Pasolini and Fellini instead. Like his co-star Fonda, who also spent many years in the wilderness, Stamp's performance in The Limey stands as a long-promised return to form, which he'd been hinting at for years.

There's great support from Luis Guzman, Lesley Ann Warren (as an L.A. acting coach, who suggests in her few short scenes with Stamp a potentially epic romance), Barry Newman as Fonda's henchman and the startlingly fresh Amelia Henle who shows that, yes, there is an art to playing "the girlfriend." (Joe Dallesandro is in there somewhere as well in some capacity but is completely unrecognisable.) If the slight bit in the middle lacks the polish of the beginning and the end (it appears a large subplot about two hitmen must've been jettisoned in the editing room), the dialogue still crackles throughout, with Stamp--as a one-man amalgam of London's east end--throwing off Cockney rhyming slang ("China" "plates" thus "mates") and reminding us of what made London swing in the '60's. Very stylish, Soderbergh's control of the emotional depth of the story is impressive, as is the acting--as always in his films. Deserves a much wider audience.
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Proustian Out and Back
tedg17 February 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Soderbergh deserves respect, as much for his failures (`Brokovich,' `Traffic') as his successes (this, `Sight,' `Videotape'). When he experiments, it is with simultaneous layers of different kinds involving the eye, the mind, time, remembrance.

Here he works on small, intimate layers, small visions of the future (and possible futures), persistent large memories from the past. All is handed with a shifting perspective -- the camera is nowhere because it is everywhere -- you are not eavesdropping, the limelight is on you. Unless you insist on driving, this editing is mind-expanding -- literally -- because he places you all around simultaneously.

This is such a controlled little film, one wonders why Soderbergh is so irregular. I believe it is because he crafts his vision to the peculiar conditions of the narrative. He knows to replicate the last victory would be impossible (listen up Coppola!) so why try? Move on. He deserves as much respect, I believe, for the failures as well as solid gems like this.
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Excellent revenge movie with one minor problem...
Infofreak13 December 2001
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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8/10
Look, if you don't get this movie, just stick to the Hollywood fluff
dbushik16 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sorry, but I'm really not going a comment on this film so much as comment on some of the other comments I've seen here. People complaining that they couldn't follow the narration or don't understand why the main character doesn't enact his revenge, I really don't know much what to say other than for you it's probably best to just stick with the Hollywood fluff pics where the male star lead always makes it in the end with the female star lead and there's plenty of explosions and bright flashy images to keep you distracted from the fact there's no plot, no decent dialog, no character growth, and no appreciation of film making as art. If your point of reference is recalling the fantastic ground breaking story telling tools of True Lies, well, you're hopeless.

This was an incredible piece dealing not with revenge or action or any of the surface issues used to tell the story, but actually about a man realizing how his decisions in life impacted his daughter. It's about personal growth. In the end, he, himself, is ultimately the one he's seeking revenge against. There is a good speech he gives about mid way through the movie while talking to the DEA agent that clearly explains why he doesn't kill the Fonda character. You have to know what matters and when. When he comes to the end and realizes where and when he stands, ready to kill, it's very clear it's no longer the issue he needs to deal with, so he moves on.

And one more thing about the way this story is told with the flash forwarding technique, sometimes you just have to sit back and watch a film. Not spend most of the movie being confused and dissatisfied over what you can't pin down and put into linear sense before you've seen the whole thing, but just sit back and let the director and writer do their thing and take it in. When they're done with their work, it will be clear (unless you spend 90 minutes furrowing your brow and resisting of course...).

I mean, Pulp Fiction is an incredible movie, but did you spend the whole thing confused and upset over what Pumkin and Honey Bunny were doing in the opening scene or how it would fit into the film to the point of not understanding the rest of it? No, you just take the scene in and move on to the next one, and when you reach the end, it makes sense.
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10/10
Last addition to the 'Get Carter' canon, but done in such an intelligent and sophisticated way, that i loved every second of it!
paolo_bf3 July 2008
Sodemberg in good form, while Mr. Stamp hams it up as your Stepney old china gangster giving a performance which is both deceptively simple and sophisticated with a hint of method thrown in for good measure. Peter Fonda, as the suave record producer Terry Valentine, is the perfect impersonation of a hippie growing old disgracefully and on Big Sur backdrop, reminds me of one of the Beach Boys (Brian Wilson possibly...who probably was a good mate of his in the good old days anyway) "the 60s were just like a dream with its own language and locations which didn't really exist, and then you woke up... not just the 60s really, just 66 and a little bit of 67.." showing off to his new starlet girlfriend... There is a rather moving moment toward the end of the film which brings to the fore the essential human frailty, how underneath the mask of our 'adult' certainties there is often a confused little child... And finally, if you like thrillers like myself, this movie is that rare thing, an intelligent sophisticated one, which keeps you on the edge of your seat for a couple of hours, without feeling, like unfortunately happens with a lot of similar productions, that when the credits start to roll, you have been through 120 minutes of disposable entertainment... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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7/10
Decent Low-Key Revenge Story
ccthemovieman-125 February 2006
For modern-day revenge movie, this is unusually low-key and pretty good. It's nothing super but it sneaks up on you. It might bore you, but it might not:. It's really hard to say.

If you enjoy a character study by an interesting actor (Terrence Stamp) you might like this. But, beware, it has its slow moments. What it is, is simply another revenge tale, so often told but so often fun to watch. This one is about a British criminal (Stamp) getting out of jail, finding out that something bad had happened to his daughter in Los Angeles, and going for the man (Peter Fonda) he feels is responsible for that.

There is a bit too much flashback in here, so you have to be prepared to put up with that. Of note, the filmmakers used actual film footage from a 1967 film of Stamp to show him in his younger days.

What I did really enjoy was Stamp's vocabulary and the interesting looks on his face. The supporting cast also adds nicely to this story, particularly Barry Newman, who plays Fonda's bodyguard. There isn't a lot of action in here but when it does occur, it's pretty intense.
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8/10
Limey Is Good And That Is No Lie
meeza9 May 2000
This is no lime! I mean lie! Director Steven Soderbergh's "The Limey" is one of the most beautifully photographed films I have ever seen. The film stars Terence Stamp who once again readily delivers a terrific performance. The film is about an aging ex-con who tries to avenge the killers who murdered his daughter. Oh blimey! I mean limey! I almost forgot! Peter Fonda executes a very subtle but assenting performance as the mischievous paranoid record executive. However, it is Director's Steven Soderbergh direction that makes this film sweet as lime. Colors reflecting moods, overlapping dialogue intersecting between different scenes, and character thought-provoking facial gestures are all Soderbergh traits that are once again perfected to make every scene work. If you don't believe me, go watch "The Limey" and then you will now that I am not lying. **** Good
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9/10
The Movie "Traffic" and "Out of Sight" Were Supposed to Be
Bob-4511 January 2002
Like its title and leading man (Terrance Stamp), "The Limey" surprises by what it is NOT. Stamp plays an aging hood, a "Limey," who has spent much of his life in prison. At first glance, Stamp appears a "loser," who is now throwing what remains of his life away on a questionable vendetta against an aging rock producer (Peter Fonda) who may or may not be responsible for the death of Stamp's daughter. However, director Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic," "Out of Sight," "Erin Brockavich"),skillfully intercuts scenes of past, present and future, nonsync dialogue, music, peripheral action and plotting to create an efficient, consistently surprising and highly effective movie. Just as the film is about to become routine and predictable, new key characters and plot information is revealed. To Soderbergh's credit, this never seems forced or contrived. Alas, Soderbergh's style tends to undercut the effectiveness of Leslie's Warren's role, and the climactic shoot out is disappointingly pat. Nevertheless,the payoff is terrific. Special note should be made of the performances of Luis Guizman, Barry Newman and, especially, Nicky Katt ("Boston Public").

Don't let the title fool you, "The Limey" is one terrific movie and Soderbergh, for once, deserves all the praise he can get.
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A Real gem
ionamay4822 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I love this flick! Always enjoy re-viewing it. All the little camera tricks and disjointed and anachronistic shots are what make this endeavor so interesting. Also a good story, intelligently layed out and beautifully shot...with a great score and many neat little surprises and gimmicks that ADD to the story-NOT distract! Excellent cast and very realistic dialogue. A real sleeper! I really like the ending where it goes back to the 60's with the lead character singing his neat little song...I guess that is the operative word for this flick---character!! Beautiful piece!
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Stylish Limey Is Not Your Run of the Mill Crime Thriller
Joe Moretti27 November 1999
The very stylish and simple "The Limey" has me quite baffled. After digesting this movie for a while, I am still not quite sure what to make of it and more importantly, what exactly is it about. On the surface "The Limey" seems like a straightforward geriatric "Deathwish" with its theme of revenge. Go deeper and it is more a character study of a man who has devoted his entire being to a "life of crime" and dealing with a culture that he is not entirely familiar with. Look sideways and it deals with hard core men who are over-the-hill attempting to hang on to their lost youth and vitality by being tough (even though their bodies can't quite cut it anymore), wearing expensive designer suits with tinted glasses and having very young beautiful women by their side. Whatever the case may be director Steven Soderbergh, of the very sexy and stylish but much more superior "Out of Sight" with George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, knows who to handle the crime drama/thriller with panache and style like no one else.

Dave Wilson (the very good Terrence Stamp), a smart, intense criminal just released from prison heads to LA from London to look into the somewhat mysterious death of his daughter, who he barely knew. He believes she died at the hands of her boyfriend, legendary and majorly rich record producer Terry Valentine (Peter Fonda) and will not stop until he tracks him down for answers.

The plot here of avenging father seems pretty much lame and not that interesting or complicated at all, but maybe that is the point, not everything in life is extraordinary, in fact much of life is standard, simple and uneventful. But the plot does not so much drive this movie as do the characters. In a world of 16-year-old superstar models, actors and singers, it is totally refreshing to see a movie where the majority of characters are over 40, many over the sixty mark. Even the hitmen of this movie are past their prime. These criminal characters are not your typical stock characters of most crime films, some are regular Joes who happen to have chosen crime as their career aspirations and deal with the same problems as the typical 9 to 5 office worker. As the one hitman hired by Valentine's head security Avery (Barry Newman) says, "I embrace my lifestyle".

While the acting is top notch, especially Stamp, Fonda and Newman, the real star of the film is director, Soderbergh and especially cinematographer Ed Lachman. Soderbergh cuts so many different scenes back and forth with a flair that I have not experienced yet as with a character speaking in one scene and finishing the sentence in another. His use of flashbacks of a young Terrence Stamp incorporating Stamp's 1967 film, "Poor Cow", are not only genius but a great homage to the actor. Also when we first meet the Fonda character, the background music has lyrics that include "easy rider is a curse". Just great. He also seems to get amazing performances from his actors as he did with Clooney and Lopez in last years "Out of Sight". Fonda still riding high from 1997's "Ulee's Gold" does well with the character of Valentine, showing a very vulnerable, insecure and weak man who hides behind wealth and power. Stamp delivers an intense and powerful, yet totally focused, subtle and real performance that is very rare in this film genre. It is a memorable performance and character. Cinematographer, Lachman, does an amazing job with shots that are standard fare, but gives them a different angel that make them stand out such as a scene where Wilson tosses one of Valentine's body guards over a balcony into the canyon below. Your typical cinematographer would have focused on this. Instead Lachman has this scene in the far background while the main shot is of Valentine having a good time at his party feeling totally safe and relaxed in his multi-million dollar home.

So the bottom-line, is "The Limey" a great film, I don't think so. Did I love it, not really. Was I bored with it, no quite. I guess it captured my interest in a different and quiet way that most films don't and for that I recommend it. Also when was the last time you saw 70's semi-icons, Barry Newman (TV's 1974 Petrocelli), Leslie Ann Warren and once hunky Andy Warhol mainstay, Joe Dallesandro. Recommended.
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10/10
Yet another positive review of The Limey...
Sammy James6 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I just love this film. I won't give anything away about it -- apart from just one bit of information:

I watched this film in the winter of 2001. It created an incredible mood. There was an ice storm going on outside, in Waltham, Massachusetts, where I was house-sitting for a friend. The video cassette upon I watched the film had been rented from the public library. I was so bored that I decided to throw the tape in. I was feeling, at first, as though I was in for a really boring movie.

Wrongo.

I thought that the Limey was going to be a chick flick, and if you've read any of the other reviews here, I was clearly wrong. I am unsure of why -- but I do know that everyone whom I've told about this film, who hasn't seen it, always wrinkle their noses when I say the name. "The LIMEY?" they always ask...and I say "like, yeah...The Limey." And when they ask "what is it about?" I always say --

"You HAVE to watch it. Seriously. It is incredible."

And I've actually had a couple of folks come back, and they say -- "you know...you were right."

So -- now you've been warned. So if you haven't seen it, then go and see it.

Thanks!

:)

  • Sammy
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7/10
Steven Soderbergh style
SnoopyStyle16 January 2015
Wilson (Terence Stamp) gets out of prison and goes to L.A. Eduardo Roel (Luis Guzmán) had sent him news that his daughter Jenny Wilson (Melissa George) is dead. His is convinced that her music producer boyfriend Terry Valentine (Peter Fonda) is responsible. Valentine was involved in a drug deal which he is now trying to hide and presently has a young girlfriend Adhara (Amelia Heinle). Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren) was once a famous actress and a mentor to Jenny. Valentine's right hand man Jim Avery (Barry Newman) hires Stacy (Nicky Katt) to kill Wilson.

Soderbergh is trying his disjointed editing style and a bit of shaky camera work. The style is really fascinating for awhile but it becomes more of a gimmick later on. It overwhelms anything happening in the story and takes away some of the tension. Even the dialog becomes secondary. I really like the use of the old movie but even that has diminishing returns. He's done this in the past like in 'Out of Sight' but it wasn't quite as pervasive. Terence Stamp has terrific menace. He's able to maintain the tension and there is a nice payoff at the end.
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7/10
B-Limey.
johnnyboyz11 March 2013
A year after Steven Soderbergh's The Limey was released, Stephen Kay unleashed upon us their remake of 1971 British thriller Get Carter; a film about a low level hoodlum travelling a relatively long distance to look into the death of a family member, before indeed uncovering sordid plots and such they always suspected were there. The fact The Limey is as good as it is would make it doubly unforgivable if one were to opt for the said Get Carter remake if faced between picking it and Soderbergh's film here. Principally, the man has taken a similar idea but brought a great deal of substance where in Kay's effort there was fatuity; a degree of life and ingenuity where there was formula and this sense of verve and energy where there was a just lot of bland 'muscle' going through the motions. Invoke Get Carter at your peril, remake it at your ***. But where The Limey's catalyst is the suspicious death of one of its anti-heroic lead's family on account of a driving accident, it does so well with the material anyway that it gets away with it – telling an engaging tale with a dynamic visual approach.

The film is about a titular "limey" (American slang for an Englishman) in the sunny city of Los Angeles, a man omnipresent on account of doing some of his own investigations into a little driving incident wherein his daughter died. Where everything looks harmless and natural enough, our Limey lead Wilson (Stamp) has suspicions that he believes will lead to finding out what really happened. As a character, Wilson is almost certainly of both his era and ilk: that is to say, hardened and from a time and place in 1960's Britain that is light years from where he finds himself now. Rough and often emotionless, although not without a degree of kindness revealed through the way he reminisces and speaks enthusiastically about his past and things such as the music he likes, there is something appealing about watching a tale about this carefree Londoner, who knows what it's like to kill, maim, thieve and serve time, plopped into a contemporary California dominated by the beating sun; houses up in the bluffs and punk African American hit men.

Soderbergh doesn't hang around, he drops us headfirst into L.A. and Wilsons's universe. A musical track belts out over the images, a singer singing about "searching low and high"; the lyric "they call him the seeker" as our Wilson stands on screen - immediately inferring a man on a mission to find someone/thing. We're at an airport, and Wilson has just stepped off the plane from Great Britain. Amidst all the activity out front, it is the two seemingly innocuous police officers of the L.A.P.D. that catches Wilson's eye suggesting some sort of history or link to the law. He knocks about town for a while; meets up with a man of Hispanic descent named Eduardo (Guzmán), who'll provide help and answers, then demonstrates his truly unhinged nature when he marches into a blue collar warehouse and starts pushing around those who run it. "Tell him I'm coming!" he shouts, and we get a feel for just how both determined and angry he really is.

Cut to he who it is Wilson will eventually come to seek: Peter Fonda's Terry Valentine; a record producer who lives behind his bodyguards inside of a secluded mansion. Soderbergh pulls a trick on us here, in that while Valentine is essentially the villain of the piece, he is not some snarling; foaming-at-the-mouth; evidently evil individual who slots into the role of the antagonist just as easily as Wilson does the hero. Valentine is softly spoken, even frail looking. We get the feeling should Wilson and this man come face to face; it'll be over quite quickly. He talks to a young woman named Adhara (Heinle), his girl friend, about things such as how one should name their children after star consolations because, like, y'know, it's kind of a cool thing to do. Even his name, "Valentine", conjures up the sort of immediate imagery more inclined towards love and fondness and not spite or wickedness, etc. Wilson is, by comparison, much more aggressive and hard bodied; a man not afraid of violence nor probably much into talking about the esoteric qualities of naming kids after star signs.

The editing in the film is of particular interest, a film unfolded using stock footage from an old Ken Loach film doubling up as flashbacks of Stamp's character's past; an array of filters and the sort of manipulation of time that sees Wilson recount the same story twice to two different people whilst only ever presenting to us one instance of him telling it. Such an approach calls to mind John Boorman's techniques that he applied to a similarly realist/avant-garde crime picture in 1967's Point Blank; a film told as such so as to replicate its lead's damaged, perhaps even confused, outlook on the world as they recovered from a gunshot wound. Here, having got a sense our lead Wilson (not too far from "Walker", Lee Marvin's Point Blank character) is as damaged (albeit in a psychological sense), the idea of splicing the film up by cutting back and forth from strand to strand; tense to tense is inspired so as to invoke a shattered mentality. In a sense, The Limey is the hard boiled revenge film for people who do not like hard boiled revenge films. It is the antidote to those people who get it into their heads that specific genres or 'types' of films are for set genders or those in a particular age bracket. The Limey is very much, as a standalone film regardless, works really well and should be seen.
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L.A.-Noir at its (cleverly disguised) best!
chanteuse-124 November 2005
Love this film: I've recently (twice) viewed it and am looking forward to one more before returning it....

The writing is near-flawless, the casting IS flawless!

The cinematography is damn fine, and goes a long way toward setting and maintaining the tone/mood. Overall, I'd give it an 8.5, though can't yet put my finger on why it's not a ten. A bit too formulaic, and some scenes are washed out.

Terence Stamp was great, and it was cool to see the 60's film clips.

Luis Guzman was stellar.

Leslie Ann Warren ( who I'm no fan of,) did good work here.

Peter Fonda was spot-on as always.
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Wonderfully evocative film
philfromno23 March 2000
An engagingly directed film, The Limey is Soderbergh's best since the legendary Sex, Lies, and Videotape. Complete with a well thought out script and an iconic performance by forgotten British screen legend/cool guy Terence Stamp, there is nothing here to complain about. Worth repeat viewings.
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1/10
bella mafia
kmiller3626 January 2002
It was hard for me to really grasp just how contrived and unoriginal this flick was! It had absolutely NO ENERGY, the villains were third rate - my mother probably could have whipped some ass and come out an action star. As I sit here with my cigarette, just finished watching this god-awful flick, I dip into my cherrios and wonder why on earth would an English actor like Terence Stamp would sign off on movie like this? The money? The Limey was like an expanded teleplay from a television show - no particular period in mind. Just bad in every way. The heavy-handed direction left me feeling like a large foot just squashed me from above. If the director was large in other ways, he should seek out career opprotunities in other areas of show-biz. Yeah, not worth the time or effort. I want those two-hours of my life back, pronto. Cherrio.
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8/10
I prefer staying at home me!
Spikeopath26 April 2013
The Limey is directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Lem Dobbs. It stars Terence Stamp, Lesley Ann Warren, Luis Guzman, Barry Newman, Peter Fonda and Nicky Katt. Music is by Cliff Martinez and cinematography by Edward Lachman.

Wilson (Stamp), fresh out of prison, travels to Los Angeles to investigate the death of his estranged daughter Jenny (Melissa George). Aided by a couple of her friends, Wilson's trail leads to the last guy Jenny was dating, oily record producer Terry Valentine (Fonda), a guy with more than record producing on his CV.

Steven Soderbergh picks up on a common film noir theme, that of a man seeking revenge for the death of a friend or loved one, and cloaks it in visual and aural artistry. The story as written is simple, undeniably so, yet the narrative structure spins it into a vortex of complexity and psychological disharmony.

Alongside his editor, Sarah Flack, Soderbergh uses flash-backs and flash-forwards to unfurl the plot. Thus we often get a triplicate viewpoint of a scene, such as what will happen, what the antagonist wants to happen or what might happen! It's dizzying stuff but it serves the emotional thrum of the plot beautifully and draws the viewer firmly into Wilson's state of mind. This is the case with dialogue and sound as well, where a current scene will feature previous or future aural snatches. The director also splices in scenes from Wilson's memory banks to marry up the emotional discord, while also deftly using scenes from Stamp's performance in 1967 film Poor Cow (Ken Loach) to show the youthful Wilson from happier times.

If this all sounds like style over substance? Then it is, but The Limey rises above this issue because elsewhere there's other great rewards. Notably Stamp's performance and the counter-point characterisation by Fonda. Stamp, in full cockney spouting mode is having a great time, he has Wilson as a feral man of vengeance, but with a knowing sense of parody, he also exudes a sorrowful guilt at his inadequacies as a father. Fonda has Valentine as a relic of the sixties, he's regressing and constantly looks back. It's a smooth performance from Fonda, weasel like but never over the top in villain terms, and the fact that Stamp and Fonda are mostly kept apart until the finale really helps the characterisations to thrive. Good support comes from Guzman and Warren, though Newman only just convinces as Valentine's "enforcer".

There's good humour to be found here, intentionally so, something that seems to have thrown some folk into thinking Stamp is going over the top. That isn't the case, though, Wilson is a veteran of prison and wry humour is merely one of his defence mechanisms. One of the great scenes in the film sees Wilson launch into a cockney monologue as a stony faced DEA Agent (Bill Duke looking hard as always) listens without understanding a thing he says! It's also worth pointing out that although the story is average, Lem Dobbs' screenplay does throw in a very good ending, a veer from the norm that closes the picture on a strong note. There's so much good about The Limey that it's a safe recommendation to neo-noir fans and fans of Stamp and Soderbergh. 7.5/10
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5/10
Not particularly bad, but don't get your hopes up
patrick powell25 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A phrase I have used before in these 'ere reviews is 'there's less to this than meets the eye, and risking devaluing it through overuse I'll use it again about The Limey as it sums the film up extremely well. Stephen Soderbergh is a darling director of cineastes and for all I know he was attempting something far more subtle than what we are ostensibly presented with. If so, it was far, far too subtle for this viewer. I read elsewhere that The Limey is a Soderbergh meditation on retirement, but I don't got for that at all. The Limey is, to be blunt, a straightforward account of how Terence Stamp's limey ex-con travels to Los Angeles to seek revenge for the murder of his daughter.

Why he had decided it was murder - it was, of course, because this is Hollywood life not real life - is never made clear at all. All in all The Limey is a somewhat banal and unconvincing thriller about a man taking his revenge, but Soderbergh attempts to raise it to a higher plain with the use of artsy-fartsy editing. It doesn't come off. The Limey is by no means bad, but neither is it much of an interesting film either. Go and see it by all means as it is entertaining enough, but there are enough films with the same theme as this which are, quite simply, better, artsy-fartsy editing or no artsy-fartsy editing. I might well have missed the point, but if I have, I suspect the point didn't really amount to a row of beans, and, anyway, I really don't care.
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10/10
I love this film
cyberninja859 March 2007
1999? Wow. I'm shocked that's when it came out. I saw it on Netflix in like 2002. But I just mentioned it in another review I wrote and I thought I'd give it some props here. What I loved about this film was how compact it was but what a good story it told. Terrence Stamp was controlled and scary. Plus the editing. I just read that Soederberg did the editing under a pseudonym. How he prelapped the dialog over memory was fantastic. Brilliant. I recommend this to everyone as one of the best rentals of all time. WOrks so well on the small screen. Not really a date movie -- I reserve that for Bottle Rocket. That is like the best date rental....
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6/10
Blimey! It's the Limey!
rcraig629 June 2004
The Limey is a generally good shoot-em-up-revenge/action/thriller of the sort that I would probably characterize as a Hollywood factory picture if indeed Hollywood were even producing anything THIS good anymore. It's the kind of film you can have fun with if you don't go in expecting something important or significant.

The movie is about a career criminal who flies from his home in England to L.A. to investigate the mysterious death of his daughter, who was living with a man and suddenly turned up dead in a suspicious auto accident. He wants to know what really happened. Just one problem: the man he needs to question is an impenetrable record company executive who is mixed up with drug deals as well (I love the stereotype there, what a perfect comment for our times about the corruptness of corporate "art"). So the Limey begins a journey through layers of street toughs, hit men, glad-handlers and professional bodyguards to get the single piece of information he craves.

From there, the movie is pretty much reliable formula, but sometimes the credulity is strained a little too far. In a scene where Terence Stamp (as Wilson, the Limey) takes revenge on some big bruisers who worked him over, he kills two, one escapes. Now, Stamp is playing a man of around 60 with a fairly thick English working class scouse. Yet, we are told later in the story that the description the escaped man gives the police is "just some crazy guy". No wonder the LA cops have such a bad rep, look at the leads they're forced to work with.

Anyway, what really makes the movie are two fine performances, by Stamp and Peter Fonda, who is appropriately slick and genuinely charming as the record company exec. And this isn't the type of movie that needs to be stylized, just telling the story will do fine. But Steven Soderbergh drives me crazy with some cutesy editing which is meant to imply that we're watching a work of art, which we're not. In one scene where Stamp is telling his tale of woe to a drug agent, the film is cut about six times during the speech. Why? Doesn't Soderbergh think Terence Stamp can hold an audience for a minute or so? Who needs it with these phony MTV visual effects? And I thought the flashbacks using "Poor Cow" with a younger Stamp was another bogus gimmick. I much respect Soderbergh's talent and place as an indie pioneer, but he is selling us a bunch of garbage if he thinks he can take a pulp movie like this, slap on some silly jump cuts, and call it macaroni. He thinks using the imprimatur of " indie film" makes it a maverick enterprise (the only maverick thing here is the casting of Stamp and Fonda). This is a studio picture using the veneer of "indie" for credibility.

On the plus side, I applaud the use of 60's British rock on the soundtrack; The Who's The Seeker to introduce Stamp, and The Hollies "King Midas In Reverse" for Fonda. Most oldies are used gratuitously in movies; instead of invoking a time and place, they just remind me of the last time I played my car radio. Here, it is pinpoint. Like I said, the Limey is a good fun picture if you don't get your hopes up too much. 3*** out of 4
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2/10
One of the worst films in recent years
funkyfry24 October 2002
How to describe how bad this movie really is? It has a few good suspense scenes, but it's all obviated by poor directing that carries the actors over the edge into the ridiculous in their characterizations, which emerge as stereotypes. Weak plot about revenge and a faded hippy record producer (Fonda). Soderberg should give up while he's got some people convinced he's a good director. They might see this movie!
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2/10
An annoying egofest
kafka-2123 May 2000
Frankly, I'm amazed at how many people evidently found this a great movie. Little more than an egofest for Stamp and Fonda, this film is pretentiously filmed and very poorly acted, with a paper-thin plot and precious little to hold the attention. Stamp is dreadful, rendering an angsty performance of little credulity. The "stylish" direction becomes irritating and vaccuous given the sparsity of the plot and the poor acting. The movie goes nowhere, either - if you make it through to the ending, there's nothing to reward you. Ultimately, this movie serves almost exclusively as a vehicle for Fonda and most particularly for Stamp - the rather irrelevantly interspersed footage of him as a young man does nothing except remind us both of how good looking he used to be (the film's objective) and of how daft he seems now (not the film's objective).

Don't be fooled - "stylish" direction and pretentious nonsense does not make this a good movie. Avoid.
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