The story, although nothing new (the story of a son growing up to avenge the death of his parents – you can find plenty of such stories in Tamil & Hindi movies), is beautifully crafted with witty dialogues thrown in.
To add the icing on the cake, the acting by Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Sir Ben Kingsley (did not know when he got the “sir” thing) and of course Josh Harnett was first-rate.
It is about a man being at the wrong place, at the wrong time and the director Paul McGuigan pulled out a very crafty picture, leaving many of us to second guess until the very end when the entire puzzle falls into the right places.
A short synopsis from the internet (ya, I am bit lazy here)…
It all starts with a horse. Then an innocent man is mistaken for someone who owes money to a bookie. And when Mr. Goodkat (Bruce Willis), the most notorious assassin around, blows into town, everyone knows something big is about to burst. But what?
Slevin (Josh Hartnett) comes to New York to visit his friend Nick but finds his apartment empty. “I think Nick is in trouble,” says Lindsey (Lucy Liu), his neighbour. This becomes clear to Slevin when he opens the door expecting to see cute little Lindsey and gets a henchman’s knuckles instead.
The criminal bosses (Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley) wants to see Nick, and Slevin can’t prove he’s not Nick because his pocket got picked that morning. Soon he finds himself in the middle of a high-profile murder being plotted by one of New York’s biggest crime bosses against another.
Exactly what kind of trouble is Nick in?
In my opinion, Josh did the better job than the rest, probably because he was the main lead – we were thinking that he is indeed the guy with the bad luck until the last moment when Josh revealed the true character of himself. Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley were at their elements portraying the gangster leaders nicknamed “The Boss” and “The Rabbi”.
The joke in the movie is the question: why he is called the Rabbi? Bruce Willis was cold enough to be a notorious killer. His opening scene with the real Nick in a wheelchair was a classic – that is where he will tell about the story of the horse (which itself is good enough to be made into a feature film). Lucy Liu was the coroner who just looked great on the bed.
What? She did not do much acting, ok? She did? I must have missed that part – most guys (ahem!) were too busy looking at her “moves” on the bed.
One thing that the movie stands for (other than a great story-telling & superb camera moves) is the witty dialogues. Look at these and tell me if it is not:-
Slevin (telling Ben Kingsley when asked who he is): I’m just a guy who is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Slevin (telling the police detective when held up at the restaurant’s washroom): I’m just a guy who’s dinner’s getting cold
Man (Morgan Freeman’s henchman): The boss wants to see you. Slevin: Who? Man: The Boss Slevin: Who’s the Boss? Man: The guy we work for
Slevin: I’m not the guy you’re looking for, I don’t live here. Man two: Yeah well, you like the guy who lives here. Slevin: Well you don’t know what the guy that lives here looks like.Man one: What he means to say is, you look like the guy who lives here man.Man two: yeah… that is what I meant to say.Slevin: But I’m not Nick.
Girlfriend (after Slevin finds her on the bed with another man): It was an accident…Slevin: What? Like you tripped and he fell?
The Boss (Morgan Freeman as he is walking towards Slevin): I’m the boss.Slevin (pointing at the bigger and better-looking henchman): I thought he was the boss.The Boss: Why, do we look alike?
Slevin: They picked up the wrong guy. The Boss: The wrong guy for what? Slevin: Whatever it is, you want to see me about.The Boss: Do you know what is, what I want to see you about? Slevin: No.The Boss: Then how do you know, I have the wrong guy? Maybe I want to give you a $96.000 dollars. In that case, do I still have the wrong guy? Slevin: Do you want to give me $96.000 dollars? The Boss: No. Do you want to give ME $96.000 dollars? Slevin: No. should I? The Boss: I don’t know, should you?
The Boss to Slevin: “You’re in my pocket and if you don’t do what I want you to do, you’ll go from my pocket to my fridge (whilst looking at the fridge containing his bookie’s dead body)”
Enough said. Just go and watch the movie (or the trailer here)