Lucky Number Slevin was the best movie I’ve seen this year. Maybe last year too. Honestly, I’d walk right back into the theater and watch it again. Josh Hartnett is perfect, as usual, in the title role. Poor Slevin keeps trying to tell people he’s just a kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. But The Boss, The Rabbi and the detective either don’t believe him or don’t particularly care. The Boss is a mob boss played by Morgan Freeman. The personable and friendly Freeman is just as personable and friendly as a mob boss – but now he can swear and have people killed. Sir Ben Kingsley plays The Rabbi wannabe gangster who is The Boss’ nemesis. The two haven’t spoken in twenty years, yet live across the street from each other. Bruce Willis is Smith, a sleek assassin who comes and goes as he pleases. Add Stanley Tucci as a detective and Lucy Liu as a crazy yet beautiful neighbor, and you’ve got one hell of a cast.
Not only does this movie have an excellent cast, but they’ve got a great script to work from. The story and dialogue will blow you away. I want to compare it to the great writers of dialogue – Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, etc…but it stands alone. The dialogue flows so smoothly, without ever feeling trite or forced. Remember everyone’s favorite scene from Reservoir Dogs, in the diner when they’re talking about the ritual of tipping? Or the conversation in Clerks about whether or not the contractors working on the Death Star when it exploded were taking their lives in their hands by taking the job? It’s that caliber dialogue – smart and funny at the same time, but not so much that it takes away from the story of the movie. The story…well let’s just say if I say any more about the story other than it’s fantastic, that I’ll give too much away.
While it’s odd, at first, to see Morgan Freeman as a mob boss, he plays the role incredibly well. Although that man could read me the back of a cereal box and I’d be impressed. He’s calculating and cold-blooded, yet still comes off as someone you’d like to sit down and have a cup of tea with.
The standout star, of course, is Josh Hartnett. As Slevin, he seems to be the unluckiest guy on the planet. He falls into pit after pit because of a case of mistaken identity, yet somehow manages to stay the always-charming character we love him for.
I wish I could write more about how great this movie is, and provide moments from the film to back me up…but I’m afraid if I keep writing I’m bound to slip and give something away. So you’ll just have to take my word for it that this is a serious contender for next years’ Snobbie Awards.
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