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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.64%
Worth A Look36.36%
Average: 13.64%
Pretty Bad: 13.64%
Total Crap: 22.73%

6 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Lucky Number Slevin
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Lybarger

"It’s actually even money."
3 stars

The first act of "Lucky Number Slevin" promises a payoff the rest of the film only partially delivers. The setup has intriguingly quirky characters, some of whom don’t have real names, and a juicy crisis. By the time the final twists and turns are revealed, though, it’s hard not to feel double-crossed like the characters.

Jason Smilovic’s script borrows from everything from Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s "North by Northwest" (the characters even acknowledge this in the dialogue) to Quentin Tarantino’s warped chronologies. Despite the originality deficit, there’s still a strong enough plot to make this thing interesting.

The title character, Slevin (Jason Hartnett) is living an experience that makes Hell seem like a vacation resort. After having lost his job and his girlfriend, he flies to New York, where he’s mugged after he barely gets off the plane.

His friend Nick was supposed to pick him up at the airport, but is nowhere to be found. This may be due to the fact that Nick owes two feuding gangsters enough to pay a small house.

The first, known only as The Boss (Morgan Freeman), demands that Nick pay his debt by murdering the son of his rival, The Rabbi (Sir Ben Kingsley). The Rabbi (who gets his name because he really is a rabbi), however, wants Nick’s enormous debt to him paid back in a week.

Because Nick is nowhere to be found, Slevin winds up being mistaken for him and having to pay dearly for his friend’s transgressions. He also encounters Nick’s friendly and somewhat nosy neighbor Lindsey (Lucy Liu), a suspicious cop (Stanley Tucci) and a slippery hit man known only as “Mr. Goodkat” (a chillingly creepy Bruce Willis).

Once all the characters are introduced and the setup established, “Lucky Number Slevin” seems so eager to snooker the viewers that it winds up conning itself in the process. The surprise twists aren’t all that surprising, and Smilovic and director Paul McGuigan (“Wicker Park”) practically shoehorn the rest of the movie to fit.

That’s a shame because the opening act is more compelling than what follows. Milovic and McGuigan can’t seem to figure out what to do with their characters, especially Lindsey.

Her eventual romance with Slevin comes off as rushed and unconvincing. It’s hard to believe these two would just leap into bed simply because she wants to be Nancy Drew (she’s already a coroner).

You also wonder how many women (and there are some out there), who are so fluent in James Bond lore. After a while, all the pop culture references like this one get old. With a setup this intriguing, it might have been better for Milovic to concentrate more of the chatter on the situation at hand instead of what sounds like a Trivial Pursuit game gone unchecked.

The fist half hour of this film is so promising that I’m almost willing to ignore the mess that follows. Almost.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 04/07/06 22:52:16
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2006 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell good not great 4 stars
6/22/09 Beefsolver Transparently derivative. Uneven results. Beef solved. 3 stars
11/26/08 Shaun Wallner Laughed my ass off! 5 stars
3/05/08 JLH Very good flim... 4 stars
9/22/07 Steve Newman I loved this film - go see 4 stars
5/30/07 Piz an 0-2 pitch high and outside ... a waste! 2 stars
3/15/07 Matt A strong cast is wasted on this overly complicated pile of cinematic effluent. 1 stars
10/29/06 JeromeBosch Elaborate, intelligent and satisfying. Excellent! 5 stars
10/24/06 Indrid Cold Great dialogue + decent story = above average. Hey, I liked it more than Pulp Fiction. 4 stars
10/22/06 Dillon A mindgame worth playing. 4 stars
10/11/06 jagnet I thought this was very entertaining. One for the collection 5 stars
10/05/06 Jordan Whoever wrote that review is a moron! It was incredible. 5 stars
10/03/06 Agent Sands One of the most brilliant scripts ever written. Dialogue & story are both refreshingly new! 5 stars
9/22/06 Alyssa Hale It has a good story which is developed well through the movie. 4 stars
9/21/06 matt enjoyable but VERY predictable 4 stars
9/17/06 ad entertaining 4 stars
8/24/06 Ali Junaid Hayat It is a good story. 3 stars
5/26/06 Regina George didn't really survive the school bus accident Possibly the best amoral contorted thriller since A FISH CALLED WANDA. 5 stars
4/30/06 David Pearson Superb well told entertaining crime story 5 stars
4/29/06 Agent Sands Riveting, Oldboy-style refresher. 5 stars
4/28/06 Ahmed Kazikian Good movie. Stop bashing it, and pay attention; you'll enjoy it. Not a masterwork, but fun. 5 stars
4/23/06 Yvonne I thought the movie was very good. It could have been better, but overall it was good. 4 stars
4/16/06 mr.mike thumbs up 4 stars
4/13/06 San Lamar Entertaining Action Flick 4 stars
4/12/06 the reader lame and derivative, all hype and boring to sit through 1 stars
4/08/06 Steve Michaud Enjoyable blending of Hitchcock and Tarantino 4 stars
4/08/06 jasq hit man with a heart of gold. 3 stars
1/28/06 xtc at least the movie has wallpaper going for it. 2 stars
1/24/06 Ellen James Very violent! Too much gore and not enough plot. Mystery that was figured out in 15 min.! 2 stars
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  07-Apr-2006 (R)
  DVD: 12-Sep-2006



[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Paul McGuigan

Written by
  Jason Smilovic

  Josh Hartnett
  Ben Kingsley
  Bruce Willis
  Morgan Freeman
  Lucy Liu
  Stanley Tucci

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