An unlucky man is mistaken for a gambler wanted by the
mob and must make good on the debt in exchange for his life.
Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Directed by Paul McGuigan
Written by Jason Smilovic
Starring Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman,
Ben Kingsley, Stanley Tucci, Peter Outerbridge
Lucky Number Slevin has the honor of being the only time I've ever genuinely enjoyed a performance by Josh Hartnett. It's a fast-paced, original, well-written crime thriller with an incredible cast of legendary character actors and a story full of unbelievable twists and turns. I don't understand the negative critical reception the film received back in 2006. I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning. Lucky Number Slevin tells you exactly what's going on from the very beginning, but you don't have all the pieces to make that connection until the very end. It's a filmmaking strategy that's very hard to pull off. But when it's done right, it makes your movie unforgettable.
Josh Hartnett plays Slevin Kelevra, a down-on-his-luck drifter staying with a friend who's in deep with the wrong people. When they come to collect, Slevin is mistaken for his friend Nick and finds out Nick owes almost $100,000 to the Boss (Morgan Freeman) and an additional $33,000 to the Rabbi (Ben Kingsley). Forced to take on that debt, he realizes there's also a world-class assassin in town (Bruce Willis) with motives of his own. The story flows very well and leaves no stone unturned in its unfolding of major events. It does have a few flaws though, most of them due to Ben Kingsley's inability to pull off a successful New York accent.
I believe that Lucky Number Slevin got a bum rap back in the day and deserves another shot at recognition. It's an ingenious crime thriller that certainly kept me guessing while keeping me entertained with its killer performances and impressive storytelling. I hope it doesn't fall further down the cracks than it already has.