Published Sep 01, 2000Ray Winstone plays Gary, a retired mid-level gangster who would be quite happy to spend the rest of his days tanning by the pool of his mountainside villa in Spain. One morning, a boulder the size of an asteroid lands in the middle of his pool, missing him by mere inches. The next day, his old friend Don (Ben Kingsley) arrives for a visit. As it turns out, Don becomes a much more violent disruption in Gary's life than the 2000 pound rock in his swimming pool. Sexy Beast was directed by first-time feature director Johnathan Glazer, a veteran of music videos (Radiohead, Massive Attack), and thankfully he's resisted the neophyte temptation of trying to be "cool." This is a wacky, absurdist thriller that manages to be tense and funny at the same time. The central tension in the film is that Don has been sent to enlist Gary's help in a bank heist, and Don is entirely unwilling to take no for an answer. Gary's fear of his former cohort goes right down to his bones. He senses the inevitability of a threat, just as he instinctively knows that agreeing to do this one last job may be the last decision he ever makes. There are some neat twists in Sexy Beast, including a heist that starts off like something out of a Michael Mann film, and ends up with the criminals botching it up in a hilariously surreal manner. But the real showstopper is Kingsley's menacing, insistent performance as Don. His live wire intensity is so unsettling, you can't help but laugh nervously whenever he enters a room.