Sexy Beast

When you realize that the hole you’ve dug for yourself isn’t deep enough-- keep digging.

This is more like it. I am much more motivated to see the film again after reading your analysis, Tom. I was sort of turned off from the movie from the get-go because I found the bolder symbol to be A) improbable and contrived, and B) thuddingly obvious. But if that symbol is as you argue, more subtle than I think it is, then I should perhaps give SB a second, more sympathetic viewing.

And Dave’s point about Logan pissing on the floor is well taken. I always read Logan as little more than a psychotic loon who had contempt for Gal’s retreat into the chubby, sun-burned middle-class life of the Spanish countryside. But I see how there could be more to it.

I won’t even wait for Netflix. We have nice collection of games and DVDs for resource here at work, so I’ll check it out and see it again this week.

Perhaps I’ll enjoy Sexy Beast more the second time around. 'Course, if I do, I’ll certainly not post about it as whatever enjoyment I could derive from the film would be easily eclipsed by the agony of admitting you were right. :wink:

It’s a movie. Movies are allowed to have two-dimensional characters.

For example, I despise critics who complain about Al Pacino. It is always worth my money to watch Al Pacino yell at people. Sometimes it’s Pacino yelling at cops, sometimes it’s Pacino yelling at drug dealers, sometimes it’s Pacino yelling at salesmen, sometimes it’s Pacino yelling at lawyers. If loving that schtick is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

As Tony Montana once said to his critics: “Fuck Caspar Gomez! And fuck the fucking Diaz brothers! Fuck 'em all! What did they ever do for us?”

I have seen Sexy Beast maybe 5 times and I want to know if anyone has info on the opening monologue by Gal. I swear that the theatrical version I saw in the US had Gal musing about a number of That exotic dancers. Then I saw it on cable tv in Asia a good two years later and there was almost no monologue and his putting the ice on his crotch was edited out. Next time I saw it was maybe another 2 years later on cable in the States and Gals voice over was all about his wife. Ice not cut from the scene. Subsequent viewings only have his rhapsodic musings about his wife. I don’t think I imagined the That girl monologue and yet I don’t see any trivia or interview or data about the wording being different in various releases. Does anyone have any info for me about this?

I’d say it’s been about…oh! 16 years since I last saw it so I don’t really remember the nitty gritty, let alone different versions.

These any help?

Thank you; I did not download the first link, but I checked out the second, (not a file doenload ) which contains neither his wife’s name nor the reference to Thai women. So this is fascinating; possibly actor was allowed room to improvise and director used different bits? I actually sent a letter to his production company about this. God knows if I’ll get a response. I may sign up for Scribs after all and compare. Thank you very much.

This reminds me of an ongoing discussion I’ve had about Glazer’s next movie, Birth. Me and a friend of mine who writes occasional film coverage for the LA Times had a fundamental disagreement about something that I thought was very clear. He refused to budge and went so far as emailing some producer he’d met during a press junket. The producer told him I was wrong!

Naturally, I reject any interpretation that comes from some Hollywood moneybags Philistine.

But let us know if you get any response from the production company.


I just watched Birth for the first time, and loved it. But now I need to know what the disagreement was!

It’s on HBO Max (in the US) now, if anyone still needs to see it. I guess I should get to Sexy Beast myself.

The fundamental question of the movie! Was Cameron Bright the reincarnation of Nicole Kidman’s husband? So, @crispywebb, having just seen Birth, what say you? Is he her reincarnated husband, or is he just a kid trying to pull a scam of some sort?

And I feel like a Sexy Beast thread is as good a place as any to discuss it. This or the Under the Skin thread. I don’t think we have a Birth thread, and if we did, there’s no way Discourse’s lousy search function will ever find it.


I’m glad the proprietor of this establishment said it, because I was thinking the same thing. I don’t think there is a dedicated thread, but we’ll never know for sure.

As for Birth, I didn’t realize there was a mystery that isn’t solved 2/3 of the way through the movie. There’s no reincarnation, and I never considered otherwise after the Anne Heche stuff is revealed. I took the movie to be about the nature of love, that it’s like a house of cards: elaborately constructed and presented, but shattered on a whim.

And also about belief: that believing in something makes it real. Maybe. Just jotting down ideas as they come to me. The believing in Santa bit seems to be a key motif.

I love all of Glazer’s films and I’m so thrilled he has another feature already in post-production. He is one of film’s great image makers, but I respect that he holds off on flexing his abilities until he finds a subject that doesn’t resemble a clearly established genre.

It’s going to be a strong year for some of my favorite directors:

  • George Miller’s first feature since Fury Road stars Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba.
  • Andrew Dominik finished his Marilyn Monroe passion project after a decade’s absence from fictional features (will also be the first Netflix film to be rated X).
  • New Scorsese epic for Apple.
  • Walter Hill returns to the West with Christoph Waltz and Willem Dafoe in the lead roles!
  • Plus, new films from Kore-eda, James Gray, Cronenberg, and Kelly Reichardt at Cannes later this month.

Shortly after finishing Birth I was thinking of how great it would be if Glazer–between passion projects–could make movies for hire under a pseudonym (Jon G. Lazer? Jonny Blazer420?) and give a bunch of otherwise middling movies The Glaze. He could make a side career as a David Fincher. It was a dumb thought, but it came to me as I sat with memories of Birth. I think he might be the closest living director to Kubrick. At least that’s what this one movie made me think.

In addition to the directors listed above, 2022 (hopefully) brings us new:

  • Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Todd Field, for the first time in 16 years
  • Olivia Wilde and Kelly Fremon Craig, both directing their second films

Our interpretations are exactly the opposite. :) Rather than list what I consider evidence, I would invite you to watch it again sometime to see if you can make the movie support that interpretation. If you can’t, I’ll gladly roll out why I believe it. But basically, my read is that Cameron Bright decides to release her and is lying about lying. I feel there are a few moments that specifically support this, and they’re easy to miss if you’re not looking for them.

But part of what’s remarkable about Birth is that even though we’re of opposite opinions about what we saw, I think we both got the same message, because you put it very well:

That’s lovely, @crispywebb.

Absolutely agreed. Anyone whose filmography consists of disparate works of genius like Sexy Beast, Under the Skin, and Birth has earned his Kubrick comparisons! Especially if he’s going to work on a similarly erratic schedule.

From your mouth to producers’ ears! I’m also ready for Janicza Bravo to get busy with more movies instead of faffing around with TV stuff. Did you see Lemon, the Brett Gelman movie she directed? I bet you’d dig it. It’s no Zola, but it’ll keep you excited for Bravo to direct more movies.


I’m not sure if I made it seem like these are stray wishes, but the directors I mentioned have movies scheduled for this year. I phrased it in a fingers-crossed sort of way because you never know about delays.

Haven’t seen it, but it’s been on my To Watch queue for some time. Don’t remember why it made it there initially, but I’ve probably been reluctant to get around to it because my only exposure to Brett Gelman is his repulsive character on Fleabag.

I absolutely look forward to a rewatch sooner than later. My initial takeaway was that there was no ambiguity to the movie, and after going into the Movie Podcast archives and listening to the Under the Skin episode I find that we agree on that premise. Of course we disagree on the truth. And I didn’t intend for that conclusion to work as an apt metaphor for the movie, but it came out that way, and I think that’s lovely.

My reaction upon a first viewing was to accept the basics of the plot as presented. There is of course much that is unsaid and not spelled out explicitly, but I didn’t gather that I had to accept magic by the end of the film. And that isn’t to say that I was close-minded about the possibility of mysticism going in. I knew that the premise was goofy, but I had the confidence in the filmmaking that having seen Under the Skin afforded. My gut level reaction to someone believing in the reincarnation angle is: Missing the Forest for the Trees. It’s interesting the balance between the literal and the fable: I think of mother! and how so clearly no part of it is meant to be dissected literally. With the two Glazer movies I’ve seen there is an ambiguous line between plot and subtext. Birth felt like such a grounded movie that I viewed it as a story set in the real world, with larger thematic ideas layered on top. Until I revisit, I will just appreciate that we can take away similar emotional resonance regardless of silly details like what happens in the movie.

I found this interview Jonathan Glazer did in 2018. They get to his work around the 10:30 mark.
About Sexy Beast he says: “I don’t really feel connected to that film. It didn’t feel like it’s really from me…Essentially I was pointing the camera at a really well written script, and my job was that…I can separate that out from the other things I do.” He says he had a good time making it though. “The other things I do are definitely much more from me.”
He says Birth was about grief, and someone driven mad by love. He had a “torrid” time making it and says he had a conflict with the studio. “That was horrible and I learned from that.”
On Under the Skin: “With the funds I had I made exactly the film I set out to.”
Around 17:30 they talk about his upcoming Auschwitz film.

P.S. My interpretation doesn’t involve him trying to fool anyone. I take it that for a time he does believe he is a reincarnation.

I get what you’re saying, but I would emend your use of “magic” to “theology”. It might be a difference without a distinction to some, but I feel it’s important to understand Birth is a story about love against a cosmic backdrop. At least that’s how the lovers behave until Cameron Bright’s character introduces a complicated bit of new information.

That tracks! As near as I can recall, there’s nothing in Sexy Beast that hints at what he’s going to do in Birth or Under the Skin.

Yeah, we totally need to have this conversation over a beverage, after we’ve each rewatched Birth. Because not only do I want to hear your interpretation, now I want to watch the movie with that interpretation. I’m not sure it occurred to me.