Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lucky Number Slevin (2006)

Hi, my name is Paul McGuigan. I have directed a film called... you know what? Fuck this. I hate this film so much I can't even do the shtick. McGuigan directs this for all he can, but he's defeated (as he usually is) by the godawful screenplay. Credited to one Jason Smilovic, Lucky Number Slevin nonetheless plays out like it was written by a computer that had been fed Tarantino films and told to spit out a screenplay just like that. The words are there but not the music -- the garrulous stretches of digressive dialogue are plenty, but Smilovic misses the empathy, careful character touches and sense of cosmic unity that distinguishes Tarantino. It's clever for the sake of cleverness. So when Smilovic has Josh Harnett tell Lucy Liu, "You have a deceptively tall knock," it doesn't mean anything -- it's just an aimless one-liner. The screenplay is constructed almost entirely of moments like that (if overwriting were a crime, Smilovic would be strapped to an electric chair right now). The people in this film don't talk or converse, they riff, regardless of whether it's appropriate or whether they should be more terse or whether they should be pretending that there's other fucking people in this movie. The worst offense in this regard is when Morgan Freeman delivers the line, "He was my son," and then has to spend five full minutes explaining that he said "was" and not "is," the reason behind which should be obvious to anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention. This crass, dumb moment is proof that the makers of Lucky Number Slevin hold their audience to be mouth-breathing morons who need the film's tidal waves of pseudo-profundity and neo-noir plot gimcrackery explained at every moment; from the looks of it, they'd probably prefer that there was no audience at all and they could marvel in their own wit and intelligence in peace (quite possibly while jerking off into their own mouths). This film has no reason or purpose outside of its own existence; it is a dead zone where attitude goes to hang out and flaunt its genitals at passerby. I'm done with you, McGuigan. And I hope you stay stuck writing for quickly canceled television shows, Smilovic.

Grade: D-


Anonymous Joe Valdez said...

I'm confused, Steve. Are you saying you didn't like it?

I'm a new visitor and really dig what I'm reading. Beyond the fact you can slag a movie like Slevin that other people seemed to think was okay, but vary your reviews from different genres and time periods is really impressive.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Hey, thanks, man. Always nice to know people are stumbling across (and enjoying) my rantings and ravings... :-)

1:32 PM  

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