A rather small-scale crime drama with a big cast and an unusual title, "Lucky Number Slevin" is a stylish thriller that has been can be compared in ways to Tarantino, but the tone and feel of it is closer to Bryan Singer's "The Usual Suspects". The film doesn't reach the heights of either of those films, but still remains a mostly entertaining entry into the genre. The film focuses on Slevin (Josh Hartnett), who has found himself in the midst of a streak of bad luck - including being dumped. However, as bad as his luck as been, it's nowhere near as bad as it's going to get.
Slevin (Josh Hartnett) decides to head out to NYC to meet up with his pal, Nick. However, when he gets to the city, Nick's nowhere to be found. His neighbor, Lindsey (Lucy Liu) thinks he's run off, but Slevin finds out the truth when some thugs pay him a visit and think he's Nick - turns out Nick was mixed up with the city's two main crime lords - The Boss (Morgan Freeman) and The Rabbi (Sir Ben Kingsley), who live in towers right across the street from one another. He's dragged before each of the crime lords, who make him an offer. Meanwhile, a cop (Stanley Tucci) and a hitman (Bruce Willis) are lurking on the sidelines.
"Slevin" is too clever for its own good and it knows it - a triple cross just ain't twisty enough for this flick. However, the twists start to pile up and one becomes aware that the movie's entirely about being twisty and stylish. The result is a movie that's clever and fun while it lasts, but isn't as memorable as it could have been. Additionally, while it does do a surprisingly decent job skipping over some plot holes, the film's plot holes are still noticable enough to make most viewers pause.
The film certainly does boast a solid cast - although no one has their finest hour here, Willis, Kingsley and Freeman are reliable as usual and offer fine efforts. I've been down on Hartnett in the past, but he's right for the role here and has solid chemistry with Liu. The film also looks great, with some unique production design and flashy (although not overdone) cinematography.
Overall, "Slevin" has more than "Slevin" twists too many (yes, I know that was a bad line), but it's still an enjoyable ride while it lasts and it does offer a terrific cast.
VIDEO: "Lucky Number Slevin" is presented by Genius Products/Weinstein Home Entertainment in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is terrific throughout much of the show, with only a few minor concerns on occasion keeping the presentation from higher marks. Sharpness and detail are often superb, although a few shots here-and-there looked slightly fuzzier.
The main issue with the transfer was the occasional presence of some slight edge enhancement, which didn't cause much distraction. Some very slight artifacting was spotted in a couple of scenes, but was hardly noticable. No print flaws were spotted and the majority of the film looked crisp and clean. The film's rich color palette was also presented well by the transfer, looking crisp and clear.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation was just fine, providing occasional surround usage when called for, but often keeping the audio up front. Sound effects were crisp, loud and punchy, while dialogue remained natural and clear.
EXTRAS: Two commentaries are offered: one from Actors Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu and writer Jason Smilovic and the other from director Paul McGuignan. Additionally, we also get a set of deleted scenes, a "making of" featurette and the trailer.
Final Thoughts: "Slevin" is a heaping helping of twists, but it generally remains a clever ride that boasts an all-star cast. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality and a good set of extras.
The Film B