Sexy Beast (Review)

Not. Fucking. Avon.

Not. Fucking. Avon.

Sexy Beast exists as a film and a narrative before and after Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) arrives in Spain. But it needn’t.

Don is announced beforehand by a phone call. The nature of the phone call is relayed to Gal (Ray Winstone) over dinner. Gal, a former hard man who dabbled on the other side of the law but has long since left that game in favour of tanning, cocktails and living the quiet life in peaceful Spain, initially shrugs it off. That was the past.

Then he is told that Don is already on the way…

Don has a job for Gal and no time for social niceties. In fact he seems to go out of his cold eyed way to avoid any semblance of pleasant or normal human interaction. Gal is very wary of Don at all times and makes every effort to remain polite but firm. He says ‘No thanks’.

But Don didn’t fly to Spain for ‘No’. Not even 137 ‘Nos’.

Explaining the convincing process is pointless. Pointless but fun. In Don Ben Kingsley gives an astonishing performance of a singularly reprehensible individual, full of chilling intensity and hatred.

Don is the ‘ard man all ‘ard men fear. Over a day and two nights Don erodes, belittles, berates and  bludgeons Gal both physically and verbally, sparing little time on Gal’s wife or two friends aside from boorish and affronting comments and put downs. Even in his down time he is always wound, ominous and threatening and poised to pounce.

A scene where Don manages to turn his ejection from a flight around into his favour is as unbelievable as it is unfortunately possible.

Don is a Tarantino wet-dream of a character in a Guy Ritchie world. Not a bad combo.

He might only be onscreen for 35 – 40 minutes of Sexy Beast, but rest assured they are the 35 to 40 minutes you will remember.

Don leaves Sexy Beast battered and bruised and cowering in fear in the corner, and the film is all the better for it.

Ray Winstone is perfect as the Lord of his manor who nonetheless kow-tows to the bald big dog. Ian McShane revels in a few scenes as Don’s boss back in Blighty, the man who unleashes him like Bob Hoskins does Jet Li in Danny the Dog, muttering ‘get ‘em’ before all hell breaks loose.

Sexy Beast exists as a film and a narrative before and after Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) arrives in Spain. But it needn’t.

Final Rating – 7.5 / 10. Occasionally, but not often, a single one note performance elevates a film beyond. I could watch Don Logan tear shreds through the cast of dozens of films. I think the sheer intensity might kill Ben Kingsley though…

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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