The International Writers Magazine
Movie Review

Lucky Number Number Sleven (Opens April 7th 2006 USA)
Directed by Paul McGuigan (Gangster No 1)
Screenplay Jason Smilovic
Josh Hartnett
Morgan Freeman

John Ghaly
Ben Kingsley
Lucy Liu
Stanley Tucci
Bruce Willis

A Sam North review

Wrong Time. Wrong Place. Wrong Number

If you, like me have been waiting for a decent pacy thriller to turn up for some time, then finally Lucky Number Slevin will get your attention. There's some great character performances here and yes Bruce Willis is kind of reprising a role he has done before, but then if you are going to hire Bruce, then at least give him to guns to play with. Happily they do.

Josh Harnett plays Slevin who is, as they say in New York at the wrong place, wrong time. He is mugged on his way to visiting pal Nick Fisher, who just so happens to live across the hall from Lucy Liu - who as it turns out is the local coroner. Nick is missing, Josh moves in, but has hardly got shaved when he's ordered to meet The Boss - Morgan Freeman- a crime boss who lives in fear of assassination from Ben Kingsley, a rival gang boss called the Rabbi (Who is in fact a Rabbi) who lives right across the road in something like an apartment in Dracula's Castle.

The goons who collect Slevin refuse to believe he isn't Nick, who, it seems owes a lot of money from gambling debts. But here's the deal, Slevin will get his debts 'forgiven' if he will kill the Rabbi's son.

Lucy Liu and Josh Hartnett
Slevin has little choice but to accept this deal. He confesses all to Lucy Liu who naturally wants to help but before anything can happen the Rabbi''s goons also want a word with Nick. He is taken to see the Rabbi (Sir Ben Kingsley who sports a sinister accent) and he is generous too with his offer. Pay up or die seems to be the choice. Naturally they want his cooperation in this matter. Absolutley no one will accept that he isn't Nick and even if he isn't Nick, they say he has to honor the debts? What is going on and who is the mysterious Mr Goodcat (Bruce Willis) who skulks behind the Rabbi one moment and The Boss the next? Is he setting up the hapless Slevin as a fall guy.

Josh is begiinning to regret he ever knew Nick Fisher and then there's a third party who want a word with him, the cops, led by a cranky crazed Detective played by Stanley Tucci, spying on all the crime bosses from their eavesdropping truck on the street.

Sure Slevin gets a break and a roll in the hay with Lucy Liu, but we just know this guy isn't long for this world and he's got to come up with a major workable plan to get out this situation. Is he going through with the idea of killing the Rabbi's son? A lot of people are going to end up dead and Slevin is top of the list here. Complex, sure? Are you taking notes?

Josh Harnett plays Slevin perhaps a little too cool. But perhaps that's because he has this innocent face that just doesn't really show much emotion. Ice-cool sinister Willis is kept menacingly in the background for most of the movie and the big acting guns come from Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley, who have a lot of fun with their rival gang bosses, prisoners of their own evil empires.

There are twists, surprises, bluff and counter bluffs from Scottish director McGuigan and it's great to see a gangster movie that makes you feel good for a change. Go and expect surprises. You'll have fun.
See Trailer

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© Sam North March 2006
Sam is the author of Diamonds- The Rush of '72 and Curse of the Nibelung - A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

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