Asked to recommend some "grit" to a friend who'd recently enjoyed Uncut Gems, I cast my mind back to a movie I first saw on late night TV when I was definitely too young for it; a film so different and inventive that it has been permanently etched onto my retina.
Sexy Beast gets a lot of things right, not least of all its 90 minute running time. The story moves along at a clip while its visuals are engaging enough that you're unlikely to get caught checking your watch.
Is it a love story or a deeply black Comedy? Is it a thriller? A heist film...? For my money it's all three and more and can be summarised as follows: Take the various elements of Ocean's 11 (a film I love) and supplant the veneers and the gags with real criminals, real crime, real stakes and real prison time.
Superb performances all around but MVP goes to Sir Ben Kingsley as the terrifying Don Logan.
It's the debut feature film of the superb Jonathan Glazer. For readers of a certain age, he's most famous for a hugely successful string of commercials and music videos of the 90s and 00s (i'll post one below). Glazer's craft is on show here in spades, but Sexy Beast is a raw film; inventive camera work is championed over the safety net of traditional coverage, and some could argue that the film lacks finesse as a result. A stark contrast to his next film Birth which has more polish but fewer visual thrills for my money
Ask someone to name a master filmmaker and you'll likely hear names like Hitchcock, Spielberg or Sir Ridley Scott. Filmmakers with huge back catalogue of films - and plenty of turkeys among them, Hook anyone? By contrast, Glazer's three films of the last twenty years have all been fascinating. Given the opportunity myself, I'd take the quantity approach - but there's no denying Glazer is yet to put a foot wrong . I can't wait for his next film - and if you enjoy this, you could do worse than picking him Palm Pictures DVD of collected works.
Ex-con Gal (Ray Winstone) has retired to Spain with his beloved wife DeeDee (Amanda Redman) and his best friend. Bad omens and nightmares abound, Gal's history comes back with a vengeance in the form of sociopathic Don Logan, an old criminal associate who arrives at Gal's villa intent on enlisting him for a bank robbery back in London. Don won't take no for an answer and his menace quickly dismantles the cushy life Gal's made for himself.
If you're a modest film fan or looking for a challenge and you like the genre, this is a film that will linger in the back of your mind. Perfect for late night viewing.
As for the anthropomorphic Hare - meh, just go with it.
At the time of writing, this film is available to stream from Amazon for £0.99 HD. Do yourself a favour and say yes, yes, yes.
Running time: 88 minutes.