Sexy Beast


#1

Man…what a terrifying, heartening film. Really enjoyable stuff and Ben Kingsley…wow! I’m sure others have seen it…at least I hope so. Great dialogue. Great camerawork. Great story. That was certainly worth a break in the gaming action to watch it tonight. I even listened to some of the commentary with the producer and Ben Kingsley…not great…but insightful at times.

Who would have thought that Ghandi could scare the piss out of you?

–Dave


#2

Yeah, that’s a great movie. The opening sequence cracks me up.


#3

Yeah. Boiling. It’s so hot. You could fry an egg on my stomach right now.

Great flick.


#4

A decent movie… I found Kingsley 2 dimensional really, not in a bad way but in an unconvincing way. But that ending! Whew! That ending saved it for me and made it a classic.


#5

Kingsley two dimensional? Unconvincing? Are we talking the same movie? Ben Kingsley’s Don Logan? Good god, Bub, please leave the thread and go post in that Radeon thing with Derek Smart’s fans.

<spoiler>

Did you stick around for his demise? For how pathetic he ultimately was?

</spoiler>

I loved the heist. We’ve all seen a thousand heist movie heists, so it was such a pleasant surprise to see the heist in Sexy Beast. Very clever and a visual splendor!

 -Tom

#6

Yeah, I wouldn’t call that performance “two-dimensional”.


#7

>I found Kingsley 2 dimensional really.

Yikes.


#8

Yeah, Bub, Jeez. Didn’t you love how Kingsley character completely changed and evolved over the movie? How he was seemed like several different characters rolled into one? How Kingley did this amazing acting job just with his eyes!?

Gosh Bub, just go away to a different thread. This is the wildly over-rated movie thread.


#9

Fuck yeah! Jesus Bub what the fuck were you thinking when you wrote that?

Hey, I’m backing off, I really don’t know what I was talking about.

I remember hearing for months how great Ben Kingsely was and watching the film and thinking “He’s great! But he’s also obviously acting”… I recall being much more impressed with the lead actor’s quiet performance. (I’m always much more impressed with quiet performances - case in point, I prefer Robert Duvall to any other actor in the first two Godfather films.) I was very happy when the movie didn’t end with Don Logan’s death. I think, had the movie been about Don Logan solely, I wouldn’t have liked the film much at all (I would have respected it, it was a well-made film, but I wouldn’t have liked it). The ‘twist’ and the tension at the end with the heist made the whole film sing. I think the memory of that caused me to make my regretable statement earlier.

His eyes were great Jim. But it was his speech pattern that worked best. I wouldn’t say Don Logan evolved throughout the movie though, I’d say he ping ponged through manic/depressive states.


#10

I wouldn’t say Don Logan evolved throughout the movie though

Um, I thought we asked you to move to another thread. :)

 -Tom

#11

I really don’t know what I was talking about.

So you’re implying that sometimes you actually do know what you’re talking about?


#12

I should have used some smileys, I guess. I was trying to be utterly sarcastic as I wasn’t particularly impressed with Ben Kingsley’s performance either. Playing raving psychopaths always struck me the actor’s version of the home run derby. It’s shallow but exciting, at least for a little while.

I was also trying to mock some people’s shocked indignation (what did you say, sir!? Well! Of all the cheek!), that you couldn’t not like Logan character or Kingsley’s performance. Hell, I even go one better and say Sexy Beast ain’t that a great a movie to begin with. Maybe that will earn me an invite to leave the message boards altogether. :twisted:

(See, I’ve learned my smiley lesson.)

Stick to your guns, Bub. Maybe we’ll get exiled at the same time and will just have Met_K to chat with.


#13

How dare you, sir. How dare you.


#14

Playing raving psychopaths always struck me the actor’s version of the home run derby.

You’re thinking of playing retards.

I was also trying to mock some people’s shocked indignation (what did you say, sir!? Well! Of all the cheek!), that you couldn’t not like Logan character or Kingsley’s performance.

Fair enough not liking it, which is really something you can’t quantify. But Bub was pretty specific with his contention was that it was “two-dimensional”.

Do you agree? I’m not being facetious. I thought he played a bully who was a bully out of weakness. Biff from Back to the Future was two dimensional. But Don Logan from Sexy Beast was a pretty fully realized character.

Maybe we’ll get exiled at the same time and will just have Met_K to chat with.

You’ll have to type in all caps and learn how to use that bold face tag thingie.

 -Tom

#15

Oh, yeah, them too. And maybe burn victims.

Was Biff even a character? He always struck me, like Mad Ol’ Doc Brown, as a caricature or a staight-up live-action cartoon. So, yeah, I did find the Don Logan character to be two-dimensional. He was a bully out of weakness. Fine. I am not sure why that makes him any more fleshed out or interesting. Did the character change at all during the film? Did he come to any sort of realization about himself or anything else? Was the character’s role in the film to be anything more than a big sharp stick in Gal’s ass to make him do the heist?

Maybe there was more to the role than I remember. It’s been 2 year since I’ve seen it, and I only understood half the words Logan said when I did see it.

(By the way, perhaps one of my favorite characters in the history of movies is pretty two-dimensional as well: Gunnery Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket. Every time I watch that film I alwasy sit up straight and tuck my shirt in on the small possibility that R. Lee Ermey can see me through my television screen.)


#16

Did the character change at all during the film? Did he come to any sort of realization about himself or anything else? Was the character’s role in the film to be anything more than a big sharp stick in Gal’s ass to make him do the heist?

The answer to all these questions is yes.

Maybe there was more to the role than I remember. It’s been 2 year since I’ve seen it

I don’t mean to sound condescending, but you might consider watching it again. One of the reasons I liked Sexy Beast is that it had a very literary script.

and I only understood half the words Logan said when I did see it.

I’m with you there. But, as Bub pointed out while he was abandoning the guns you asked him to stick to, a lot of the performance was in the cadence. For such a wordy role, it was primarily visceral, which is one reason I thought he was so good.

 -Tom

#17

Really? Can I get an argument/examples from the film? And maybe exactly why you think he is a “bully from weakness” who just enjoys urinating on people’s floors and scaring the shit out of them. Not saying your reading isn’t in there, I just don’t recall it from the film.

Fair enough. I’ll netflix it. In the meantime, what did you find literary about it?

Well, maybe I’ve blended two different points. One was that the Don Logan character wasn’t that interesting, and two was that Ben Kingsley’s performance wasn’t that good. I’m still not sold on Logan the character, but as for Kingsley’s performance; I still maintain that the “cadence” or “speech pattern” or whatever you call it is what any very talented actor would do to make an uninteresting role more interesting. It ain’t necessarily easy (Gary Oldman tried to do the same thing “The Professional” but I just remember giggling at him then) but it ain’t necessarily hard for the truly talented either. Hence my reference to the home run derby.

I remember watching an interview with Dustin Hoffman on E! (oh, shit, there goes what little authority I brought to this debate), and he was asked about winning the Oscar for “Rain Man.” He just smiled politely and said playing Raymond was easy, he called it physical mimicry, but that it was Tom Cruise doing the acting.


#18

Jim,

Can I get an argument/examples from the film?

I’m tempted to just say ‘watch the movie again’, but that would sound like a cop out. So…

  1. Did the character change at all during the film? Did he come to any sort of realization about himself or anything else?

Most people make the mistake of regarding character development as a character actually changing. However, character development can also be revealing more about the character to the audience. Although it seems you’re only asking about the former, I think Don Logan in Sexy Beast is an excellent example of character development in the latter sense of the word.

But as to whether he changes, I’d say he certainly does. For starters, he has a grab bag of terror tactics, ranging from explosive to conniving, from simply yelling to carefully targeting someone’s weaknesses.

Before the movie has ended, he is driven to confess love and vulnerability, which are pretty significant changes, even if they’re motivated by a shotgun blast to the gut. But even before then, I seem to recall he hints to Gal that he feels like he’s been abandoned now that Gal has moved to Spain to go straight. Doesn’t he even say he doesn’t want Gal to be happy? He behaves, at times, like a jilted lover. In the script and Kingsley’s performance, there are hints of someone weak, afraid, and hurt. Which is exactly how he ends up at the end.

  1. Was the character’s role in the film to be anything more than a big sharp stick in Gal’s ass to make him do the heist?

You do realize, don’t you, that Gal doesn’t do the heist because of Don’s bullying? One of the movie’s great reveals (great because we probably don’t even need it to be revealed) is that he goes on the heist precisely because he didn’t cave in to Don. Instead, we find out he goes because he has to cover for standing up to Don, who is killed by his wife.

Don Logan’s role isn’t just a motivation for another character’s action. Just as he’s a psychic counterpart to Gal, an id to Gal’s aging bloated superego, he is also a physical counterpart: thin, short, bald, beady-eyed. He represents a vicious past that Gal is trying to leave. He is male-ness, poised against Gal’s wife (who, I would say, is ultimatley the most important motivator in the movie) and a sign of infidelity between Gal’s friends. He is a foil to Teddy, the cool and calm gangster back in London. He is the personification of the boulder that rolls into Gal’s pool and, by the time the movie is over, the literal incarnation of that boulder.

In the meantime, what did you find literary about it?

See above. But I’d say it’s main claim to being literary – this might be kind of cheating – is that’s it’s driven by the inner choices of the characters rather than by events. The heist itself is a sideshow to what happens that night by the pool.

Instead, Sexy Beast is about things that are hard to show in a movie without flashbacks or three hour running times: past relationships. Why is Gal so in love with his wife? What has he done and seen that makes him reluctant to go back to London? Why is Don so intent on bring Gal on board? And why is everyone so scared of Don Logan? These aren’t spelled out. They are established and accepted through character development, which I think of as more of a literary than a cinematic device.

Perhaps I shouldn’t put such a hard divide between the two, but it’s been a long dull summer, movie-wise, with character development that consists of Tom Cruise watching a hologram of his dead son and Mel Gibson being told by his dying wife how to defeat alien invaders.

So there you have it. Sexy Beast isn’t my favorite movie or anything, but I liked it quite a bit. If you see it a second time, I look forward to hearing what you think. If it’s not your cup of tea, that’s cool. But I’m surprised someone would describe as two-dimensional either Kingsley’s performance (as Bub said) or the character of Don Logan (as you said). Suffice to say, I disagree. :)

 -Tom

#19

Not only that…it’s done in half the running time, it’s only an hour and a half of film!

I agree with everything Tom has said. Kingsley speaks very highly of the script in the director commentary. He also gives some insight into when certain scenes were filmed which REALLY brings out the strength of the actors. That great scene when they’re in the restaurant and Gal’s pal walks in with his wife and they’re all dejected/angry because Don’s coming was the first scene shot for the movie. Given the way they all play off one another and seem to have known each other for years yet are able to make you fear Don even before you’ve ever seen him, that’s pretty impressive. Kingsley notes that they made it easy for him. He just had to walk through an airport at that point and you were going to be convinced he’s a bad sonofabitch. But he takes that to the next level when he bitches about his shirt right on exiting the car…then we get to see him sitting rigid on the step while everyone else is lounging on the sofa.

But even without all the info the commentary provides, there’s so much there to enjoy. Don Logan the 2D man is certainly way out there.

Yes on both counts. He’s there for Gal for two reasons…one, because he believes he needs him and two, because he resents him for having the life he doesn’t. The revelation that he was intimate with Jackie reveals a lot about his motivation. Gal even asks him at one point if he’s really there to see Jackie and not because he wants to recruit Gal. He’s pissing on his floor fer chrissake…just to let him know he resents Gal’s life. Gal’s got the pornstar wife…the big beautiful villa… and this boulder rolls in there. That boulder is a metaphor for the whole film…the near death experience in order to keep true love.

–Dave


#20

I think I was reacting more to the praise and hype. I rented the movie because of all the Kingsley praise. I came away far, far, far more impressed with Gal, the love story, and the way the whole thing was filmed. Don Logan was an over-the-top collection of tics and glares. Manic/depressive, scary and pathetic at the same time, and careening inevitably toward the ending he met. (I hadn’t thought about the boulder btw, that’s pretty good!) Since I saw Kingsley in Death of the Maiden, I knew he was capable of scary stuff, so I wasn’t as impressed as many were. He was great. From inflection to language, to beady eyed stare. All brilliant. I also still think he was two-dimensional, but I think he was meant to be. He served as a foil (instigator) for the more interesting (yet unpraised - unhyped) characters.

Logan also represented city life versus the idyllic life. And (carnal - not necessarily meaning sexual) knowledge versus the innocence of that Spanish boy.