Lucky Number Slevin (2006)

Genres - Crime, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy Thriller, Crime Thriller, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)  |   Release Date - Apr 7, 2006 (USA)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - Canada , Germany , United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Lucky Number Slevin is about mistaken identity, but as a movie, it's pretty slippery to pin down as well. Paul McGuigan's film starts off like a jokey, self-satisfied cousin of Get Shorty -- every mob boss is a pop-culture poet philosopher, every thug is a gifted wordsmith, and every character dissects and analyzes the semantic irony in his or her dialogue, until eyeballs are rolling all over the theater. Purported cleverness hasn't felt this self-conscious in years, and when Jason Smilovic writes Morgan Freeman a whole speech dedicated to the animated creature known as the "shmoo," the channeling of Quentin Tarantino is complete. By the arrival of the somewhat surprising shift in tone (or identity), the film has already traveled down its path for long enough that the switch-up is somewhat lacking in impact. While this shift gives the film greater complexity, even artistic merit, it also contributes to an uneasy feeling of schizophrenia. Lucky Number Slevin might have been better off choosing one clich├ęd persona and sticking with it. A sterling cast does distract some from the derivative technique and effortful set design. With Bruce Willis, Josh Hartnett, Ben Kingsley, Stanley Tucci, and Lucy Liu joining Freeman, it's tempting to view Lucky Number Slevin as genuinely hip, rather than the cubic zirconium of cool. It has its share of worthy moments and ideas, especially for those who still find the whimsical mobster movie a fresh genre. But the average viewer may never get past that feeling of mild annoyance, which the cutesy title sets in motion.