By Travis J. Klemann
A revenge tale unlike any other, with surprises at every turn perfectly describes this cinematic roller coaster. Directed by Paul McGuigan (Gangster No. 1), this intriguing crime thriller keeps your eyes glued to the screen during its 110 minute runtime.
During the initial intro credits, two bookies are brutally murdered by an unknown assailant and a young man is shot by a sniper upon exiting a hotel. Taking place in New York City, the story begins with events that happened twenty years ago involving a wager on a fixed horse race. The horse died mid-race which was very unfortunate for Max as he now owed the mob a hefty sum of money. To set an example, the mob killed Max, his wife and young son to prevent others from betting on a fixed race.
In present day New York, Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett) is mistaken for Nick Fisher while staying at his friend's apartment. Two henchmen forcibly take him to meet "The Boss" (Morgan Freeman) who insists he either pay the gambling debt his friend Nick owes or kill the son of his rival, "The Rabbi" (Ben Kingsley) as retribution for his own son's assassination. Slevin is kidnapped by a separate set of henchmen and taken to "The Rabbi" who also demands he repay a gambling debt.
Add a hitman playing both sides by the code name Goodkat (Bruce Willis), an overly enthusiastic neighbor named Lindsey (Lucy Liu) and an eagerly invested Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci), you have an interesting story with equally interesting characters. There's surprising revelations throughout along with unique dialogue such as "The Boss" referencing The Shmoo from creator Al Capp.
I love this movie's intricate plot so much, I don't want to spoil the outcome for anyone. I highly recommend it for viewers who enjoy crime thrillers and plot twists. I'm also a fan of the director Paul McGuigan who previously worked with star Josh Hartnett on Wicker Park.
4/5 Stars - Highly Recommended
PS: Another reason I recommend this film is the all-star cast which features screen legends Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley in rare roles as mobsters. Josh Hartnett is an actor who has "the look" but unfortunately gets overlooked by Hollywood. Last but not least, Stanley Tucci has a small but important role. #TucciGang