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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.67%
Worth A Look: 31.48%
Pretty Bad: 5.56%
Total Crap: 1.85%

4 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Limey, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"'The Limey's' randy technical side induces a sour face."
3 stars

There is always the possibility of over-styling your movie, going too far, and having no sense on when to hold back the immoderation. Unfortunately, that is exactly what director Steven Soderbergh does with "The Limey": overkill. What happens is that you take a simplistic, or maybe even a "cool" story --and you fill it up endlessly and obsessively with the stylized and trendy behind-the-camera tricks and techniques that have been made so popular in movies over the last decade. You do all that, and then you still proceed to pour it on. "The Limey" is guilty on all charges.

The element of simplicity is there: Wilson (Terence Stamp), an old criminal-type bloke from across the seas has come to America to avenge the death of his daughter. She (Melissa George) was killed in a car accident as her car flew off of Mulholland Drive while she was staying with a much older playboy-esque gent (Peter Fonda). Wilson doesn't believe it was an accidental death and is going to find out the truth first hand. Typical caper-fashioned movie, yes, we know Fonda's character is and/or was up to something, and will somehow be linked to her death. But despite all of this forehand knowledge, this obvious direction it is barreling down, there is never any payoff, during or at the end of the movie. The revelation --if you can consider it that-- is minute and non-substantial. (And the pathetic explanation and reason why is just silly; think of a telephone in hand.)

Even though I'd categorize it as a typical caper flick (where instead of money or a price-dictated collateral, it is for the memory of a loved one), it is still below some basic standards. The story and script is muddled and trite, lacking any type of a solid story at all. The ending as a separate entity only manages to be slightly interesting, which is pretty depressing when juxtaposed against the rest of the monotonous treatment everything else receives throughout. While watching "The Limey," I felt like I was trapped in a "Pulp Fiction"/"The Sweet Hereafter"-esque hell. (Although I liked those two movies, this is not the case with this.) The similarity is in how both of those films, the story is told to a certain extent out of order, the former doing so more than the latter, or later woven in to make more sense. (One of Atom Egoyan's signatures.) Quentin Tarantino and Egoyan are masters of time manipulation and take its usage as a serious technique in their films, but I never was led to believe that Soderbergh was using it in the same structural development.

Soderbergh's past efforts have always been stylized to some degree, whether it be "sex, lies and videotape," the period piece "King of the Hill" or the more recent "Out of Sight." I much preferred the former film, but the last entry here was by far the most visually ambient, causing it to stick out. Although it was "surgically" done so, it looked and felt "cool"; and I mean cool in two ways. The dominant cool was its emanation of naïveté, or an other-worldness of "cool," like the look-at-me cool. But it also reigned with a breezy cool --refreshing and relaxing-- composing the deco-clan and bright colors and highly contrasted design of production design. Yet still in the end, and in the hands of Soderbergh, "The Limey" ends on a emphasis of being stylistically challenged.

All the cool and in shots were thrown in, ranging from hand-held cameras, grainy film to 50 edits a minute. The constant and repetitious use of these gimmicks has quickly made it mundane and boring, and serves only to detract from the authenticity of the movies using them. I feel that when talented directors like Soderbergh do this, it is a strike against them. Their implementation of all this hodgepodge and excess removes the experience of absorbing the story, further withdrawing the viewer from the cinematic "show." As for the characters, they lacked a certain personality and individuality that should fully be forming them; the closest they get or feel like are screen-creations. We were just suddenly thrown into their lives without being given much either way --to or against the principal of the character. It could have been a cool movie --it certainly has capable talent, but it ends up a little less than regular.

With Luis Guzman.

Final Verdict: C+.

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originally posted: 04/15/01 12:39:44
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User Comments

2/05/13 matthew thompson dalldorf Great neo-noir 5 stars
12/19/06 William Goss Stamp's performance elevates otherwise unremarkable revenge drama. 3 stars
12/06/05 Peter Hanbury So pretentious and irritating that it was almosr unwatchable. 1 stars
7/19/04 axe terence stamp is worth a butcher's, china 4 stars
4/06/04 Agent Sands A great desperado/revenge pic, but shabby if U think of it as normal desperado/revenge pic. 4 stars
12/08/03 Sammy Does stuff have to blow up to be a good action movie?!!! No it doesn't. 5 stars
11/29/03 chris k i vary good film in my mind 4 stars
5/28/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back Mo'Fos!!!) Some of the most hilarious violence since "Pulp Fiction" & "Out of Sight." 4 stars
4/25/03 Jack Sommersby Plenty of style, very little substance. Overdirected and annoying. 2 stars
4/22/03 mr. Pink Soderbergh's worst film. 2 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock Nasty stuff! 4 stars
5/13/02 neelyboy tell him im FUCKING coming 4 stars
4/04/02 Edfink Lombardo Directed to perfection, but overall, this is nothing special, though it has its fun moments 3 stars
1/11/02 Robert Some of the best dark humor I've seen in a while. You tell him I'm coming! 5 stars
11/16/01 The Moorhen Could have been so much more... 4 stars
8/29/01 viking Better than those mindless action thrillers 4 stars
8/19/01 Edwin Menguin Crap cockney slang, apart from that, nicely shot film 4 stars
6/25/01 Religion is Poison Barry Newman, Stamp, Guzman, SODERBERGH all good good good. 5 stars
1/16/01 R.W. Welch They almost had something here, but it got away from them. 3 stars
12/13/00 Terrie Smith Very demanding film that is definitely worth seeing. Stamp dominates the film. 4 stars
5/23/00 David Winkler Strong, slick direction with weak, played-out plot. Maybe a good hangover flik! 2 stars
5/21/00 Jesse This film was the best of 1999 for me. Stamp, Newman, Katt, Duke. 5 stars
4/25/00 Monday Morning OK but way too many flashbacks, flash-forwards and long "meaningful" CUs on Stamp's face 3 stars
4/14/00 J B This was the best movie last year. Excellent story along with artistic presentation. 5 stars
4/10/00 Add Soderbergh's the man, his direction makes an ok movie a very interesting and enjoyable one! 4 stars
4/07/00 Nolan Wrage It was ok, the director tried to do too much stuff with the camera. 3 stars
10/17/99 Heather Great movie, basic plot, but I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen 5 stars
10/13/99 revman just perfect 5 stars
10/12/99 JS Michels Two great performance, stunning direction, modern day greek tragedy 5 stars
10/10/99 Mr Showbiz an entertaining, if thinly plotted, noir. 3 stars
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  10-May-2001 (MA)

Directed by
  Steven Soderbergh

Written by
  Lem Dobbs

  Terence Stamp
  Lesley Ann Warren
  Peter Fonda
  Amelia Heinle
  Nicky Katt

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