A simple story from first-time feature director Jonathan Glazer – an advertising hotshot who directed the famous Guinness “surfing horses” advert . It’s all about a retired tealeaf (make sure your dictionary of rhyming slang is beside you) being forced into one last job back in Blighty (as Brits of a certain vintage mock-affectionately call the UK). And right from its opening moments, featuring a glistening Ray Winstone in ludicrous yellow trunks flat out beside a Spanish swimming pool, Sexy Beast feels like a slice of your actual quality. The film is deliciously short but the pacing is so luxuriously slow and self-confident that initial groans – Oh God, not more Brit gangsters – just die unvented. And as for the performances… well, Winstone is, as always, the daddy. But wait till you see Ben Kingsley as the psychotic henchman sent to frighten Winstone off the Costa Del Crime and back to London. Is it Kingsley’s character that’s off the scale, or just his performance? – no one can quite decide. Sexy Beast did well in the UK but even better in the US. Quite simply it makes other Britcrim contenders of the time look like boys sent to do a man’s job.
© Steve Morrissey 2013