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In the movie’s opening moments, Gal Dove (Ray Winstone) is soaking up the sun on a hot summer’s day when – a giant boulder comes tumbling down a mountainside, narrowly missing him, and lands in his pool.  It’s an incredibly prescient moment given that, later that night, an unseen force comes barreling into his life in the form of sociopath Don Logan (Ben Kingsley), a former “associate” who has come to Spain to enlist Gal for a heist.  Gal is happily enjoying his retirement from his criminal career and politely turns down the job offer, but Don proves as intractable as that giant rock sitting at the bottom of Gal’s swimming pool.  What follows is a test of endurance, not only for Gal, but those dear to him, as the sociopathic Don exerts his influence.

This film is rife with symbolism, some cumbersome (that prophetic boulder), some kind of silly (the Donny Darko-esque nightmare rabbit who stalks Gale in his visions), but the brasstacks of the narrative – the battle of wills, first between Gale and Don, later between Gale and the impossibly scarier mobster Teddy Bass (Ian McShane) – is terrific, unnervingly suspenseful.  It’s all back-stopped by a great soundtrack, kicking things off with The Stranglers and ending with Dean Martin.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit although one element left me confused.  Why does Teddy kill Harry at movie’s end?  If it was simply to pressure Gale, then it really felt like overkill.  I mean, literally.

So, who watched it?  And what did you think?

5 thoughts on “September 25, 2020: The Crime Club convenes to discuss Sexy Beast!

  1. This movie was intense! On the face of it the character of Don wasn’t all that scary. He’s not big and muscly. He’s certainly crazy and apt to bouts of explosive violence but if he was introduced to the story with no foreshadowing he would have been a caricature. What makes Don so scary is not his behaviour but the behaviour of those around him. The abject terror in the eyes of the other characters when they hear that Don is coming is palpable. Who is this Don guy? Why are they so scared of him?

    I really felt empathy for Gal and his wife and friends. They just wanted a peaceful life swimming, eating and drinking. Don’t we all?

    I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of sunny Spain to rainy England. The heist, though, was just bizarre. I guess Gal’s speciality was digging holes? It wasn’t really explained but came in handy when dealing with Don.

    Ian McShane was great as always! Why did Teddy kill Harry? I think it was either revenge for the gay sex Teddy had to endure to get in with Harry or he felt that Harry was a weak link that could identify the culprits of the heist. After all, the bank manager would probably be a suspect in a robbery like this as it was obviously an inside job. I think Teddy was just tying up loose ends and if he could use that to pressure Gal at the same time then why not?

    I didn’t pick up on any of the symbolism. I don’t think that hard about the movies I watch. (I’ve probably watched “Pleasantville” 40 times and I’m only just beginning to notice the symbolism in it. And that movie slaps you in the face with symbolism! The whole freaking movie is one big metaphor!)

    “Sexy Beast” is not a movie I would have ever watched normally but I enjoyed it.

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