A case of mistaken identity lands Slevin into the middle of a war being plotted by two of the city's most rival crime bosses: The Rabbi and The Boss. Slevin is under constant surveillance by relentless Detective Brikowski as well as the infamous assassin Goodkat and finds himself having to hatch his own ingenious plot to get them before they get him.
A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns.
Jake Vig (Burns) is a consummate grifter about to pull his biggest con yet, one set to avenge his friend's murder. But his last scam backfired, leaving him indebted to a mob boss (Hoffman) and his enforcer.
In an airport waiting room, a man in a wheelchair tells a stranger a story about a fixed horse race in 1979 that resulted in a family's deaths. In Manhattan, two bookies and the son of a Mob boss die. A young man just out of the shower answers the door to a neighbor woman and explains that he's visiting, has had a bad week, including being mugged, and doesn't know where his pal, who lives there, is. The neighbor is chatty; she's a coroner. Two thugs arrive and, believing the visitor to be the guy who lives there, take him to see the boss with the dead son, who tells him to kill the son of his Mob rival. Mistaken identity? What connects the threads? Cops are watching. Written by
A welcome surprise, Slevin has appeared as if from nowhere.
Bruce Willis, Sir Ben Kingsley, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu, Stanley Tucci and Josh Hartnett fill a cast line up every bit as impressive as say, Sin City. Leaving behind the sour taste of Wicker Park, Scottish McGuigan follows the likes of his own Gangster Number 1 with this incredibly cool, at times funny thriller that has somehow sneaked into the cinemas without much of a fuss. Supporting cast includes a very welcome cameo from a Jackie Brown star and a bunch of UK actors imitating their US counterpart's accents to perfection. The pairing of Sir Ben and Freeman alone is worth the price of admission, but this is Hartnett(as Slevin)'s film and perhaps it should not be too surprising that he carries it off effectively. In fact, none of the cast really put a foot wrong and even Lucy Liu is pretty adorable (against type if you believe the all the press).
Despite a reasonably confusing series of opening events, Slevin is essentially a straight forward, neat black comedy of errors(mistaken identity for one). The dialogue is at times razor sharp and the action is well shot. The body count climbs steadily as the movie progresses at a cracking pace that never becomes dull. Slevin is thematically similar to a few other choice stories, but like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Slevin should be enjoyed more for the ride and the audience should try not to guess ahead of the plot and let it unfold naturally. There will still be some surprises appearing even for the most avid film fans but like so many thrillers Slevin could be ruined from word of mouth. If it weren't for the warm, familiar feel of similar films, this little gem would be rated higher. Unfairly dismissed by some as confusing, wrongly compared to the legendary Usual Suspects - it's a league apart from the mess that was Revolver and doesn't outstay a welcome.
Oh, and Willis gets to call someone a 'f*** head'. Great stuff.
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